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Super Cheap Health Tests cost pennies, saves lives


One of the big challenges of our global family is to deliver affordable health care to those who don’t have much money, especially in the developing world. The massive advances in first world health mechanics is all well and good, but if it requires a $10,000 down payment, it’s not going to help someone with a median income of $10 a month. Which is why it’s great to see organizations like Diagnostics For All step up and offer low cost alternatives.

Their Paper Based Liver Damage Test is a super cheap test for damage to the liver, using only a drop of the patient’s blood and a pre-printed paper sheet. Liver damage is widespread across most of the developing world, especially as a result of drugs administered to treat HIV and TB patients.


These paper based tests were originally developed by Prof George Whiteside at Harvard University, and while this example is for liver damage, they should eventually be available for a variety of problems ranging from infectious diseases to chronic conditions like malaria. It’s this sort of simple, cost effective solution to worldwide problems that may in the end deliver the kind of real universal (with a capital U) health care that our planet needs.

Nigel is the managing editor of the Red Ferret, as well as a freelance columnist for the Sunday Times newspaper in London. Loves tech and fancies himself as a bit of a futurist, but then don’t we all?

Nigel – who has written posts on The Red Ferret Journal.

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