Fighting Cervical Cancer with Vinegar

In developed countries, pap smears are used to detect cervical cancers, but these tests are not available for poor women in developing countries. Brushing the cervix with household vinegar turns cancerous and precancerous lesions pale white within a few minutes. The lesions can then be immediately frozen using metal rod cooled by a tank of carbon dioxide, which is readily available from any soda plant.

This cheap and easy screening test called VIA/cryo has recently been endorsed by the World Health Organization.

Read More & pic from: Fighting Cervical Cancer With Vinegar and Ingenuity, New York Times


Other Health Related:

Embrace Infant Incubators

A global partnership for children, including the WHO and UNICEF, report that annually, 4 million babies die within the first 30 days of birth. Why are 4 million babies dying? Concise 2 and 1/2 page article. The common causes are infection, birth asphyxia and premature (including low birth weight) births. Premature and low-weight babies are particularly susceptible to hypothermia and need to be kept warm.

In the well-off world, such babies are placed in expensive incubators (costing upwards of $10,000), while vital signs are monitored and stabilized. In much of the developing world such luxuries do not exist and babies continue to die off. Multinational medical device companies are quick to donate expensive equipment to far off locales. Consider that in places where infant mortality is very high, there is likely no electricity to power incubators and no trained personnel to operate them. Most of the equipment is completely useless and gathers dust.

This lack of understanding local constrainsts leads me to believe that most expensive equipment donations are made primarily for tax right-offs and a way to showcase social responsibility to shareholders. But thankfully, social entrepreneurs in small teams are continuing efforts to develop baby incubators for the developing world.


Here is a creative solution by EmbraceGlobal: A sleeping bag-like device with an add-on warming pouch. It does not require electricity, is portable and costs $25. At that price, they are near disposable and can go home with the baby. Most likely, parents don’t have anything nicer to put the baby to sleep in.

A Neonatologist I spoke to voiced concern that for critical babies, it is important to be able to see the chest of the baby rise and fall as it breathes. I think this can be addressed by a zipper (or velcro) on the sides of the bag. These will also make it easier to get the baby in and out of the bag, and provide ventilation.

I think $25 is still a steep price for essentially a wrap-around quilt. If folks can build a laptop for $100, then such a sleeping bag should not cost more than $1! Yes, One dollar!

Any of you have ideas for modifying the designs to address local needs? Can this be made of locally sourced materials? How about involving micro-finance based women’s groups to fabricate/assemble them locally? This could improve their livelihood as well. Perhaps this may trigger other solutions in the local populations.

Make it for $1! Any takers?

Face of Swine Flu in Mumbai

swine flu Mumbai face masks pics by Arun Shanbhag
No, he was not trying to hijack the BEST bus in Mumbai; he was terrified about the nasty virus causing swine flu!

But that makeshift mask in a crowded bus surely got me panicky. Should I be around Mumbai using public transportation, where the buses and trains are stuffed tighter than, … than, … mumbaikars in buses and trains? And when I had Meera with me?

During my August visit to Mumbai, everyone was in full “epidemic” mode. Even at the Airport! Before reaching immigration, we filled out personal history forms and the overworked health workers simply waved us on. I hope you feel reassured.

Headlines in city newspapers screamed at every cough and sniffle. The Mumbai city council finally ordered schools, colleges, tuition classes and many govt offices closed for 3 days. Private companies gave employees furlough to work from home! And this was supposed to be my vacation. We all came through fine, and a renewed interest in Ayurvedic attempts to strengthen the immune response. Continue reading “Face of Swine Flu in Mumbai”

Reading: Wide Angle Lens

A few interesting things. Lets start with wine!


  • An eco-smart alternative to the wine bottle.
  • Slideshow: “Making French Rabbit’s New Eco-Smart Wine Bottle,” Fast Company.

    Seeing this feature in Fast Company, I tried French Rabbit’s Cabernet Sauvignon. Fantastic and it goes superbly well with my grilled salmon. Importantly, a tetra pack has 1 L wine compared to 750 ml of a regular bottle and it was inexpensive ~ $7.99! Our guests loved it too!

    See more reviews here.

  • Plain vanilla gets you to your retirement goals faster!
  • Made to Stick: The Myth of Mutual Funds | Fast Company.

    These authors of the bestseller, Made to Stick, remind us why investing in Vanguard’s S&P 500 Index fund is the way to go! And don’t be mesmerized by the glib talking financial advisers, who are looking after their own retirement! Make money for yourself, not for the financial adviser!

  • AdventNet’s Sridhar Vembu: Deflating IT
  • So fabulous to see Sridhar Vembu featured in The Economist.
    AdventNet’s Sridhar Vembu | The Economist.

    “SRIDHAR VEMBU is a dangerous man. If he succeeds, a lot of people will lose a lot of money: software developers, consultants, shareholders and others. The chief executive of AdventNet does not have fraud in mind. Instead, he wants to remove what he calls the “value-pad” from corporate IT in general and business software in particular: all those millions of dollars he thinks are wasted on inefficient production structures, marketing and, not least, proprietary standards. “In the world of corporate IT”, he says, “the low-cost revolution is very much unfinished business.”

  • Racist policies of the LPGA
  • The recent policy of the LPGA, that all players pass an oral english test was rightly criticized. From the New York Times: Editorial – A Bad Idea From the LPGA.

    The LPGA has since revised its policy: L.P.G.A. Will Revise Its Policy on English – NYTimes.com, but as the following quote from their Deputy Commissioner suggests, they just don’t get it!

    “In an interview with The New York Times last week, Libba Galloway, the deputy commissioner of the L.P.G.A., defended the policy and said the suspension penalty was fundamental to it.

    “…, this is puzzling to us because we think we are ensuring that our membership is better equipped to succeed by having them effectively communicate in English,” she said. “We are equipping them with the necessary tools for maximizing their potential off-course earning opportunities. The suspension demonstrates the importance we are placing on effective communication in English.”

    Nearly half a millennia ago, when the Portuguese butchered and forcibly converted the Konkanis in Goa, their rationale was similar: “They don’t know it yet, we are just saving their souls!”

    Centuries later when the British colonized India, their rationale was similar, “we are bringing culture and civilization to these savages.”

    And similarly in Iraq: We have to destroy them to save them!


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