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1st September 2014

Can 1000+ MedTech geeks fix the world’s health problems in 48 hours?

Put 1054 engineers, clinicians and entrepreneurs in a room in Bangalore. Give them 48 hours and 12,588 cups of coffee. What do you get?

106 innovations ready to battle the most pressing clinical issues in Indian maternal medical care. That’s what you get.  From idea to a functioning prototype participants had two days to come up with affordable solutions to the top challenges faced by mothers in India (and the world).

Created by CAMTech India (Consortium for Affordable Medical Technologies) and hosted in Bangalore 17-20 July, the Jugaad-a-thon was a first of its kind initiative in India, bringing together the medical community for an intensive and creativity-contagious weekend. A “jugaad,” in case you were wondering, is a Hindi word that means something like “clever fix” or “simple workaround.”

The results? See for yourself:

  • A mobile app for early diagnosis of developmental delays

  • An early diagnosis tool of CPD (cephalo pelvic disproportion)

  • A wearable that reminds pregnant women about milestones to receive critical care

  • A mobile app which predicts the chances of leprosy

  • A device that gives distressed babies breathing support

An immediate first aid spray for bone fractures immobilizing the area by solidifying into a hard mass

Hackathons are no longer the exclusive accessory of Silicon Valley (just ask Wired Magazine). They’re now an undeniable part of the world health community. What makes them work? Things move quickly: problems are presented in a few minutes and solutions have to come up in 48 hours. Pressure, competitiveness and an adrenaline rush drive creativity. The open door: participants come from all walks of life with most hackathons welcoming anyone and everyone with even just the seed of an idea.

Will hackathons come up with a vaccine against AIDS or the cure to cancer? Maybe not. But the collective brainpower they bring together can breathe into a simple idea that may turn out to solve a huge problem.

You are free to share the text of “Can 1000+ MedTech geeks fix the world’s health problems in 48 hours?” under the Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported license.

Photo credit: Jugaadathon/Facebook

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