The Future was Yesterday
Science and technology advances much more quickly than its application can keep up with, and in no field is this more true than in medicine. What is possible and practical in a industrialized nation is just the opposite in rural third world settings with intermittent power, unreliable infrastructures, and minuscule budgets. The most expensive and modern scanning, treatment, and laboratory technology are not only impossible to obtain in the world’s poorest countries, they are also impossible to run or maintain, due to inaccessibility to training and lack of basic necessities, like electricity. For this reason, simple advancements in implementation and delivery of modern scientific knowledge are some of the most valuable assets in the distribution of medical relief around the world. Two undergraduates from Rice University have developed a hand-powered centrifuge based on salad spinner hand-pump design is able to spin blood at 950rpms and provide an accurate hematocrit reading in under ten minutes, vital in the diagnosis of anemia and other ailments, using no electricity and costing less than $30 per unit. Inventions like these are what allow primitive regions access to western medicine.