Winners of the 2014 Award

University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa - $370,000

The University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) received one of the top prizes for its ground-breaking, low-cost system, called ‘FoneAstra’, which enables the safe pasteurisation and storage of donated human breast milk for premature babies. The FoneAstra human milk pasteurisation toolkit, originally developed by the University of KwaZulu-Natal in collaboration with health NGO PATH and the University of Washington, uses a mobile phone app to provide a step-by-step guide through the pasteurisation process and makes it easier to track and trace donor milk for increased quality control and assurance. It can be adapted for use in settings with no electricity. Up to 25 per cent of premature or low birthweight babies cannot get sufficient breast milk from their mothers, often for reasons of illness or low supply, which leaves them more vulnerable to life threatening conditions such as diarrhoea, pneumonia and neonatal sepsis.

ColaLife, Zambia - $370,000

Joint first prize winner, ColaLife Zambia, won its share of the Award for its innovative ‘Kit Yamoyo’ (‘Kit of Life’), which brings affordable diarrhoea treatment to families in remote rural areas using the supply and distribution networks normally used to transport soft drinks. Diarrhoea is one of the world’s biggest killers of children under five. It can be simply treated using oral rehydration salts (ORS) and Zinc, yet less than one per cent of children in sub-Saharan Africa receive the treatment.

ColaLife’s low-cost treatment kit contains 200ml sachets of ORS, a container to measure the correct amount of water, 10 zinc tablets and soap. It is promoted through rural health centres by community health workers and delivered by trained local village-based micro-retailers. Retailers travel to the nearest district town to buy the kits the same way they do for other fast moving consumer goods such as Coca-Cola, salt, cooking oil and sugar.

Living Goods, Uganda - $120,000

Living Goods’ entrepreneurial model mirrors direct sales techniques used by cosmetics firms like ‘Avon’. Skilled micro-entrepreneurs known as Community Health Promoters, who work closely with local health authorities, operate as franchisees. The health promoters travel door-to-door teaching families how to improve their health, and diagnosing and treating patients. They also sell health products such as bed nets, deworming pills, anti-malaria and diarrhoea treatments, fortified foods, and water filters.

University of Nairobi, Kenya - $120,000

This community health initiative was rewarded for its innovative bar-coded Vaccination/Mother-Child Wellness Card that tracks vaccinations and rewards mothers with discounts on farm products. Child immunisation is seen as a critical measure to reduce death rates in children under five which currently stand at 71 per 1,000 live births in Kenya1. The vaccination card automatically updates when a newborn is registered and each time the child and/or mother receives a vaccine.  It then allows the mother discounts on farm products, such as seeds and fertilizer, from Agrovets shops run by the University’s partner agency.