Research

Social Innovation Award to Uppsala University professor

2015-06-08

Stefan Swartling Peterson

A research team led by Stefan Swartling Peterson, professor of Global Health at the Department of Women’s and Children’s Health and IMCI, has been honored with the Social Innovation Award for its grassroots measures developed to combat malaria, pneumonia and diarrhea in Ugandan children.

While malaria, pneumonia and diarrhea are three relatively manageable health conditions, together they cause around 37 % of the total deaths of children under five years old in Uganda due to a lack of access to accurate diagnoses. While public health care centers often are located more than five kilometers away from large parts of the population, private drug shops are ubiquitous and a very common source of basic medicines. Through a strategy called integrated Community Case Management (iCCM), the research team leveraged this ubiquity to improve the quality of diagnostics and treatment available to large segments of the population.

In the intervention, drug shop owners were trained to quickly recognize and diagnose malaria, pneumonia and diarrhea. The result was greatly improved access to diagnostics and treatment of malaria, pneumonia and diarrhea. For instance, a quasi-experimental study conducted before and after the implementation of the measures found that the strategy resulted in 88 % of children with fever in the intervention drug shops receiving a proper malaria diagnosis before treatment, compared to none at all in the control district drug shops.

The award was given out by the Social Innovation in Health Initiative, a collaboration between the University of Cape Town and the University of Oxford. The Social Innovation Award recognizes grassroots innovative solutions that have been impactful in improving healthcare delivery.