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Leverkusen, December 16, 2016 – The Bayer Cares Foundation is presenting the Aspirin Social Innovation Award to five international initiatives for new approaches in the areas of health care and nutrition. The award winners are initiatives of entrepreneurial social pioneers who are committed to improving living conditions. A panel of experts selected four winners from 25 candidates and one winner was chosen in an online vote in which just under 30,000 people from 91 countries took part.
The Baby Scales Initiative from Switzerland adopts new approaches to treating infants in African countries, ascertaining their weight correctly to ensure they receive the appropriate dose of medicines. Another award winner is the Life Shift initiative from Germany, which has developed a portable, solar-powered device to sterilize surgical instruments to enable safe surgical procedures in regions without reliable access to electricity and clean water. The mobile RFRC (Refugee First Response Center) on the other hand uses innovative interpreting and telemedicine services to provide primary medical care at refugee reception centers and in war and disaster zones worldwide. Kamal Kisan develops new agricultural equipment geared specifically to the needs of smallholder farmers in India. The online vote was won by Tech Puppets for Good, an online service in Mexico that uses animated puppets to help physicians overcome communication barriers when treating traumatized children.
Each of the winners is being awarded EUR 20,000 to further expand the running activities. The award ceremony will be held in spring 2017.
“The award-winning initiatives are outstanding examples of how, through personal commitment, in-depth knowledge, entrepreneurial thinking and a pioneering spirit, society can come up with new solutions and products that improve people’s lives,” says Kemal Malik, member of the Board of Management of Bayer AG responsible for Innovation and member of the Board of Trustees of the Bayer Cares Foundation. “In the future, Bayer will be stepping up its search and support for new approaches that take society forward and benefit people by driving social innovation. We regard this commitment as part of our ‘Bayer: Science For a Better Life’ mission statement,” he adds.
The new Aspirin Social Innovation Award is a further development of the Aspirin Social Award that has been presented in Germany since 2010. Now international, this award supports social innovations in the fields of health care and nutrition that help close gaps in supply and have the potential to bring about systemic change.
Giving the correct dose of medicines to infants in Africa
Every year, 20 million newborn babies are not weighed due to a lack of technical equipment. Countries with underdeveloped infrastructures account for nearly 96 percent of babies who are born underweight. These infants are at risk of receiving inappropriate medication and having their natural growth process jeopardized. The dosage of many medicines, including the ones treating infectious diseases, depends on the recipient’s weight. The Baby Scales Initiative, which has joined forces with the Médicaments Pour Tous organization, is committed to addressing this issue in African countries. The people behind the initiative provide scales and train medical staff.
Sterile surgical equipment in developing countries
Some 1.4 billion people have no access to electricity and 800 million people are living without clean water. The wounds of two-thirds of patients undergoing operations in developing countries become badly infected due to inadequate hygiene.
Clean water and electricity are required to sterilize surgical equipment. In order to enable safe operations in regions of the world with no reliable access to these essentials, the Life Shift initiative has developed a solar-powered disinfection device that treats water from rivers, lakes or wells and weighs just 40 kilograms so is easy to transport.
Mobile medical care in war and disaster zones
Providing primary medical care for people in war and disaster zones is one of the big challenges facing humanitarian aid efforts. Many of the more than one million refugees who have arrived in Germany since 2015 are also in urgent need of medical care. The mobile RFRC (Refugee First Response Center), the only one of its kind in the world, is dedicated to providing this care. In order to overcome language barriers, physicians and patients have access at all times to a service with over 750 interpreters thanks to a link using video conference technology. Having been successfully established in refugee reception centers in Germany, Refugee First Response Centers are now being rolled out in Greece and Lebanon as the next stage of the initiative.
Agricultural equipment for smallholder farmers in India
Based in the southern Indian state of Karnataka, Kamal Kisan has been developing agricultural machinery specifically for smallholder farmers since 2013. The company has set itself the goal of boosting the productivity and profitability of users by 50 percent. Its products are intended to help farmers faced with inadequate technologies, high labor costs and an increasing rural exodus to safeguard their existence, operate profitably in the medium term and thus contribute to ensuring adequate food supplies in India over the long term. Kamal Kisan has so far developed three innovative products for smallholder farmers in Karnataka for planting vegetables, fruits, sugar cane and flowers. The company is aiming to use the funding to expand its product portfolio and sales area.
People’s choice award – fun and games help treat traumatized children in Mexico
In Mexico City alone, there are millions of children who have suffered traumatic experiences in an environment dominated by poverty and violence. Physicians often fail to connect with these children, who withdraw into themselves due to a lack of trust. The Tech Puppets for Good project uses the internet to overcome these psychological communication barriers. Animated puppets help children enjoy life again and explain to them through play that support and prevention are possible.
Bayer Cares Foundation
As the social welfare foundation of the innovation company Bayer, the Bayer Cares Foundation sees itself in particular as an initiator, promoter and partner for innovation at the interface between industry and the social sector. The sponsorship programs are focused on people – their commitment to public welfare, their wealth of ideas in fulfilling social needs, and those that arise in times of emergency. The foundation’s funding activities are a central element of Bayer’s global social commitment amounting to approximately EUR 50 million annually – with the focus on promoting scientific education and leading-edge research, as well as on providing health care and nutrition and meeting the basic social needs of people who live near the company’s sites.
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