Reach higher: our bold push for better health worldwide

Today we announced the Reach Campaign, a major fundraising initiative to increase our impact around the world. And we invite you to join us.

Profile photos of David Wu.

Guest contributor is David Wu, chief development officer at PATH. Photo: PATH.

We’re raising $100 million to accelerate progress toward a world where health is in reach for everyone, no matter where they live. The Reach Campaign is a first for PATH—a bold campaign to engage our local and global community to help us dramatically increase the impact of our work.

The campaign focuses on four areas where there’s a great need and an equally great opportunity for change: malaria, women’s and reproductive health, maternal and newborn health, and child health. Funds raised through our Reach Campaign will spur dramatic health gains by investing in the next generation of innovations so we can bring better health and opportunity to women, children, and communities everywhere.

Following are some highlights from our launch event, the Breakfast for Global Health in Seattle.

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Networking is a science for PATH’s Jessica Shearer

Jessica Shearer.

Jessica Shearer, senior technical officer, Monitoring and Evaluation team. Photo: Jessica Shearer.

Meet Jessica Shearer, senior technical officer on the Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) team where she’s focusing on how PATH can better use data for decision-making.

Q: Much of your work focuses on what you call “network science.” How can understanding networks help PATH improve the lives of women and children?

A: A network is a set of nodes and the relationships between them. Nodes can be people, organizations, animals, computers. . .anything, really. The relationships between them can be almost anything as well: social, exchange, professional, sexual, and more. Social networks exist all around us as part of our social world, but more often they are created to serve a specific function (for example, PATH is a partner of the Joint Learning Network, which focuses on countries implementing universal health coverage). Continue reading »

Friday Think: how do you measure health on a global scale?

Interactive chart showing effect of various injuries and diseases on disability-adjusted life years.

The Global Burden of Disease online tool (GBD Compare) provides open access to data compiled by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) and University of Washington. Image: University of Washington.

In case you’re wondering, there is data on per capita consumption of lunch meat in Bulgaria. It’s in the Global Burden of Disease report where, among other things, you’ll find information on everything from road injuries and iron deficiency rates to frequency of nonvenomous animal bites around the world.

On the surface, data in the report—the result of studies by the nonprofit Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME)—may seem unrelated. But the impact of the report, says Jeff Bernson, director of Monitoring and Evaluation at PATH, is felt globally. Continue reading »

Protecting Kids: stories of immunization from home and afield

Laotian girl receives oral vaccine.

This much we know: around the globe, people want their children to have healthy, productive, and full lives. More than anything, they want to protect their kids.

Illustration of globe with text, #ProtectingKids: Global stories for World Immunization Week.We’ve witnessed the desire to protect a child. We’ve seen how parents and families react when they’re told a miraculous new vaccine can give them the power to fight a disease. The commitment of health workers who will stop at nothing on their quest to deliver it. We’ve also seen the sadness when that “miracle” is not available or arrives too late.

Welcome to Protecting Kids, a collection of stories curated from friends and partners of PATH for World Immunization Week.

Read through the whole collection below and follow #ProtectingKids to join the online conversation.
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The end of malaria is within reach

Health workers sitting outside with group of village residents.

PATH and the Zambia National Malaria Control Centre are leading an effort to rapidly eliminate the malaria parasite from large regions of the country. The approach is to treat everyone, including people who are carrying the disease but don’t know it. Photo: PATH/Gabe Bienczycki.

For thousands of years, people around the world have suffered from malaria. Although the illness has been largely eliminated from North America and Europe, it is still found in nearly 100 countries.

Portrait of Kent Campbell.

Author Dr. Kent Campbell directs PATH’s Malaria Center of Excellence. Photo: PATH/Patrick McKern.

Each year, malaria affects more than 200 million people and kills about 600,000. Most deaths are among children under five, and children who survive may have lifelong mental disabilities.

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Friday Think: the antivenom potential of the opossum

An opossum perched on a tree branch.

Meet the Virginia opossum, a marsupial scientists are studying for its unique antivenom properties. Photo: Wikipedia/Cody Pope.

What do opossums, ground squirrels, and honey badgers have in common? Mammal or marsupial, they all share natural immunities to snake venom.

The World Health Organization estimates that as many as 94,000 people die each year as a result of snakebites, primarily in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. However, the ability of opossums to resist the fatal effects of snake venom has been informally known for many years. In the 1990s, researchers found that the antivenom “superpowers” observed in opossums stem from the presence of a lethal toxin neutralizing factor (LTNF) peptide, an active portion of a larger protein, occurring naturally in their blood. Now, preliminary findings indicate that Escherichia coli can be modified to produce this LTNF peptide, potentially facilitating the commercial pharmaceutical production of it as a universal antivenom. Continue reading »

Protecting Aisha from cervical cancer

Aisha Nanyombi sitting on a bench with her father Musa Maka.

Aisha Nanyombi (pictured with her father) was among the very first girls in Africa to be vaccinated against human papillomavirus, which can cause cervical cancer. Photo: PATH/Will Boase.

This post is part of PATH’s Protecting Kids blog series for World Immunization Week. Read the whole series here.

The first time I saw Aisha, she was wearing her blue school uniform and wiping tears from her face. She’d just been vaccinated, but it wasn’t the shot that upset her. She was crying because her mother had died of the very disease she was being protected from—cervical cancer.

That was more than five years ago, but I was so haunted by how Aisha told her story in a BBC video that when I traveled to Uganda this past winter, my team tracked her down to see how she was. Continue reading »

4 things I learned from the global health innovators at PATH

Five people get water from a pump, electrochlorinator device in foreground.

In Zimbabwe, community members use an electrochlorinator device to treat water at a borehole, one of the many technologies PATH has helped to develop. Photo: PATH/Jesse Schubert.

Our guest contributor is Dr. Anurag Mairal, former global program leader of our Technology Solutions Program at PATH. In this post, Anurag shares some of the lessons he learned during his two years here.

“To perceive is to suffer,” famously said Aristotle.

As I reflect on my recently concluded role at PATH, the veritable powerhouse of innovation that gave us the vaccine vial monitor and first auto-disable syringes, I am struck by how much I learned in just two years there, lessons that have redefined what innovation means for me. Continue reading »

At PATH we’re often asked, “What is this?”

“What is this and what does it do?” We get this a lot at PATH. Take the diagnostic devices pictured below.

Two self-heating NINA diagnostic devices.

What’s so innovative about something that looks like a canister of hot cocoa or chicken soup? Actually, plenty. Photo: PATH/Patrick McKern.

We develop some pretty out-there technologies at PATH, and these prototypes, developed in our lab are no exception. (Admittedly, we used a filter to enhance the photo.)

But then you notice the wires and the components, and it’s apparent there’s a purpose to the design. Have you guessed what it is? Continue reading »

Innovating to address malnutrition’s triple burden

Girls eating rice from a plate.

In contrast to many other health-related issues, malnutrition is 100 percent preventable. Photo: PATH/Satvir Malhotra.

Following is an excerpt of an article by Dr. David Fleming, vice president of Public Health Impact at PATH, illustrating how the private sector and global health sector can develop the innovations needed to address global malnutrition. This post originally appeared on the Global Food For Thought blog.

The world faces a triple burden of malnutrition. Acute and chronic undernutrition contribute to the deaths of some 3 million children each year. More than 2 billion people suffer from vitamin and mineral deficiencies, which compromise immune systems and physical and cognitive development. And now obesity is contributing to a host of health problems, from diabetes to heart disease. Continue reading »