Hewlett Packard Wins Justmeans Social Innovation 2012 Award for Most Strategic Use of Philanthropic Funds

Hewlett Packard (HP) won this year’s prestigious Justmeans Social Innovation Award for Most Strategic Use of Philanthropic Funds for its successful, Early Infant Diagnosis program in Kenya. A new cloud-based system that will speed up the turnaround time for HIV test results for babies in this region, allowing for earlier treatment and ultimately saving lives. Currently, the results of HIV tests are delivered on paper by courier, taking up to three months to arrive in rural areas. Turning this around by using IT – including HP data centres, new database software, real-time analytics and SMS-connected printers – this new system reduces the turnaround time dramatically. Results will be available online and delivered to healthcare workers via SMS-enabled printers in just one to two days.

This HP social innovation win was collaboration in action; it was part of the Early Infant Diagnosis program with Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), the Kenyan Ministry of Public Health & Sanitation, and Strathmore University. Together they showed the unique value that multiple stakeholders in public-private partnerships can bring to the table to create a positive impact on society and significantly benefit infant lives in Kenya. In this part of the world, approximately one out of every ten pregnant women is HIV positive. This means that of the 1.3 million children born in Kenya annually, more than 120,000 have HIV-positive mothers. Without intervention, there is a strong 45 percent chance that an infant born to a mother with HIV will become infected.

These organisations designed a social innovation system that uses cloud computing to make test results available in real-time. The high rate of HIV in Kenya means all infants need to be tested for the disease before they are six weeks old, and the country’s current process is slow and delayed, reducing the efficacy of life-saving anti-retroviral treatment (ART). ART needs to be started immediately following a diagnosis; an HIV-positive infant who does not receive it has less than a 50 percent chance of living to see his or her second birthday.

President Clinton says, “Technology and innovation are key to solving many of the most pressing challenges of our world, none of which are more urgent than a disease which takes the lives of 31 children every minute. I’m pleased HP’s technology and expertise will enable the partnership with CHAI to save the lives of more than 100,000 infants in Kenya each year...demonstrating how the private sector can and should operate in the developing world.”

It’s expected that this system early infant HIV diagnosis will be replicated for use in other countries. Plus serve as a model for how social innovation and IT could change the equation in the diagnosis and treatment of other diseases.

The Justmeans Social Innovation Awards first launched in 2009 and last year over 40% of the Fortune 100 participated in the awards program. Previous winners have been Thomson Reuters Foundation, Johnson & Son, Inc., Nokia, Cisco Systems, Novo Nordisk, Herman Miller, Inc., Gap Inc. and Better World Books.

Photo Credit: hdptcar on Flickr

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