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Leverkusen, November 27, 2017 – The Bayer Cares Foundation has selected six international initiatives for its Aspirin Social Innovation Award in recognition of their novel approaches to humantiy’s big challenges in health care and nutrition. The prizewinners are social impact pioneers with entrepreneurial spirit who, through their activities, are improving people’s quality of life. The following organizations were selected for their ideas from among 26 nominated entries by a panel of experts: Matibabu, Uganda, for a revolutionary, non-invasive malaria testing device; Tetragon, Austria, for the BrailleRing, a novel online reader for the blind; Thriving Green, Kenya, for a new method of cultivating spirulina superfood algae in Africa; and HerHealth, Uganda, for an innovative gynecological home test for cervical cancer prevention This year’s Audience Prize went to the Indian organization iBreastExam for its hand-held breast cancer screening device. This initiative received over 15,000 of the 42,000 total online votes. The China Impact Special Award, presented for the first time by the foundation, goes to the Chinese company Star Reciprocity for its online platform designed to support families with autistic children.
All winners will receive EUR 20,000 in prize money to further their activities. A special prize likewise amounting to EUR 20,000 was awarded to the Chinese company Star Reciprocity in recognition of its online platform designed to support families with autistic children.
“The winning initiatives have the potential to improve the living conditions of many millions of people,” says Thimo V. Schmitt-Lord, Managing Director of the Bayer foundations. “With a pioneering spirit, solid expertise and high-level commitment, these entrepreneurs have developed innovative solutions to major challenges in the fields of health and nutrition. Bayer has a long tradition of supporting such proactive efforts to benefit society.”
The new Aspirin Social Innovation Award is a further development of the Aspirin Social Award, which has been presented in Germany since 2010. The award, which went international in 2016, supports social innovations in the fields of health care and nutrition that help to close gaps in social welfare and have the potential to bring about systemic change. Since 2010, 34 entrepreneurs have received a total of EUR 255,000 in funding. The next Aspirin Social Innovation Award will be presented in November 2018.
Non-invasive malaria screening
Nearly half of the global population lives in regions threatened by malaria. The good news is that with early diagnosis and proper treatment, the disease is curable. Previous blood tests were costly and associated in developing countries with the additional risk of serious infection, for instance with Ebola or HIV. But now an intelligent and affordable solution has been developed: Matibabu, the world’s first non-invasive screening device. It consists of a small finger clip with an infrared light sensor, which detects malaria status based on data collected via a smartphone app. The method can considerably minimize the suffering caused by undetected malaria, and it is painless, making it ideal for children
Tetragon, Austria: improved internet reading for the blind
The internet has today become the most important medium for obtaining information and interacting socially. For visually impaired people, however, it is extremely difficult to participate in this highly technological lifestyle. The standard medium for online communication for this target group until now has been a flat reading tablet, which translates internet texts into braille, but achieves a maximum of only nine words before it needs to reload. The mobile BrailleRing is a revolutionary reading device that transfers a conventionally flat line of text to the inside of a ring. It is thus possible to achieve continuous scanning and to read texts of any given length. What is more, the ring is relatively low-cost compared to other conventional methods.
ThrivingGreen, Kenya: smart super food for improved nutrition
The people of Chad and Mexico have been consuming spirulina algae for centuries. It is so rich in proteins and B vitamins that it has become a leading “superfood.” The blue-green algae also has other decisive advantages: it requires very little water to grow and can absorb 16 times more carbon dioxide than an area of rainforest the same size. Students at the University of Regensburg, Germany, have developed a system of cultivation for regions where conventional farming methods fail, such as the area around Lake Turkana in northern Kenya, one of the world’s most inhospitable environments. The pilot project implemented there is now improving future prospects for the local population, in which one in four children dies before the age of 5, one in two adults is unemployed and which is suffering from the effects of severe malnutrition.
HerHealth, Uganda: gynecological home test device for cervical cancer prevention
The risk of contracting cervical cancer is five to seven times higher in African countries south of the Sahara than it is Europe. One main reason is the failure to administer gynecological tests and benefit from early diagnosis of the disease. HerHealth has come up with a simple solution: a gynecological home test device containing a test wand and sensor to test urine samples for abnormal results. A smartphone app subsequently evaluates the results and can even give advice for obtaining further assistance with potential treatment options.
Public Voting Winner: iBreastExam, India: handheld breast cancer screening device
Mammographies are unaffordable for many women in poorer regions of the world. Over 70 percent of deadly breast cancer cases occur in developing countries as a result, because the tumors frequently go undetected until a late stage of the disease. The time of diagnosis is a major determinant for a patient’s chances of survival. Using the hand-held iBreastExam device, physicians can conduct uncomplicated breast cancer screening tests in five minutes – and potentially change the futures of many millions of women. The screening device is packed with sophisticated technology, uses no radiation and is painless for patients.
Special China Award: Star Reciprocity, China: e-care for families with autistic children
Some 10 million children in China are affected by autism spectrum disorder. While families in major cities like Beijing and Shanghai can find adequate medical and educational resources to help manage this developmental disorder, rural populations suffer from a lack of suitable options for medical diagnosis, rehabilitation treatment, education and occupational therapy. This is where the online platform Star Reciprocity comes in.
Developed by psychology, education, IT and computer science specialists, the app serves simultaneously as a treatment counselor and service provider, providing parents with information and resources.
For more information on the projects, visit:
The Bayer foundations
The Science and Education Foundation and Cares Foundation of the innovation company Bayer see themselves especially as initiators, promoters and partners for innovation at the interface between industry, academia and the social sector. Their programs focus on people – talented school and college students and top researchers who are committed to achieving advances in health care and nutrition, as well as others who are actively committed to public welfare and solving social challenges. The foundations’ funding activities are a central element of Bayer’s global social commitment, amounting to approximately EUR 50 million annually. They focus on promoting scientific education and leading-edge research, and on providing health care and meeting the basic social needs of people who live near the company’s sites.
For further information on the Bayer foundations, please visit: www.bayer-foundations.com
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