Making the Planet Better, by Making its Poorest Healthier
Health, especially of the billion who cannot afford healthcare, is at the heart of billionaire philanthropist Manoj Bhargava’s efforts to create a better world. The businessman, better known as the inventor of the 5-hour energy drink, has been on a crusading mission to improve the lives of the poorest billion in the world.
He believes he can do that impacting three things. Says Bhargava: “Every single one of us has the same basic needs -- lights, health and water. Yet half the world lives without these fundamentals. We have come up with solutions for a billion people. New inventions that create pollution-free electricity, free fertilizer that gets a billion farmers out of poverty, simple devices that turn dirty water into clean drinkable water.”
Bhargava’s vision for health care is driven by his belief that “if you provide anyone with the fundamentals of electricity, water and health and they will be able to make a living.” He believes health care begins with prevention, not cure. According to him “the conventional approach to healthcare is inadequate because it tends to focus on treating people who are already sick. A more effective approach would be to focus on keeping people from getting sick in the first place. That requires an understanding of both the root causes of disease and the fundamental sources of wellness. “
Prevention is Better than Cure
When people lack basic needs like clean water, electricity, and nutritious food, the result is poor health. Poor health hinders the ability to work, earn a living, care for a family, get an education and experience a good quality of life. Further, treatment costs for certain health conditions can be financially crushing. When an entire region lacks basic needs, the result is poor healthcare. Poor healthcare means diseases aren’t cured, illnesses aren’t treated, and medical services aren’t effectively performed. The combination of poor health and poor healthcare is lethal. Therefore, ensuring that basic needs are met is one of the most important health initiatives in the world today.
Clean Water is Health
Bhargava and his team of engineers and scientists at his invention shop, Stage 2, in Farmington Hills USA, have focused on the easiest methods of providing clean drinking water to the neediest parts of the world. Nearly 1.5 million people, mostly children, die from waterborne diseases each year, and half the world’s hospital beds are occupied by people sick from bad water. Additionally, hundreds of millions of people suffer debilitating illnesses because of unsafe water. Providing people access to clean water for drinking and sanitation could reduce incidences of serious diseases, including cholera (3-5 million cases), giardia (280 million cases), amoebic dysentery (480 million cases), hepatitis A (114 million cases), and typhoid fever (12.5 million). The team has come up with the RainMaker series of products that are designed with disease prevention and wellness in mind. They’re made for use at the village level and can purify any type of contaminated water at a rate of 5-10 gallons per minute.
Free Electricity: Empowering Health Clinics
Bhargava and his team found out that health clinics in poorer parts of the world operate without electricity, leaving an estimated 1 billion people unable to receive adequate medical treatment. In India alone, 46 percent of healthcare facilities lack power. That means doctors seeing patients at night have to do so in the dark, or with only the dim light of a kerosene lantern. When vaccines and medicines cannot be refrigerated, they can spoil and go to waste. When medical supplies and instruments cannot be stored in a sterile environment and at a constant temperature, the risk of infection increases. For newborns to the elderly, the absence of electricity prevents the use of important diagnostic tools as well as the administration of potentially lifesaving cures. Bhargava’s team of engineers have created the HANS devices to help solve some of the problems facing health clinics that lack power, enabling them to provide critical health services to rural populations.
You are What You Eat
During their forays into rural areas to understand the living conditions of the poor, Bhargava and his team discovered that use of chemical fertilizers in farms not only greatly reduces the farmer’s ability to lead a sustainable lifestyle but also creates poor and unhealthy produce. The use of chemical fertilizers like urea has resulted in a domino effect of negative outcomes for farmers, one of which is poor health: urea destroys the microscopic soil organisms responsible for releasing nutrients to plants; plants with nutrient deficiencies produce fruits with lower levels of essential vitamins and minerals; people who eat vitamin-deficient foods are less likely to thrive, are more likely to develop compromised immune systems, and are more prone to illness. The team devised the Shivansh Farming method to address the root cause of this health crisis. Farmers who have implemented Shivansh Fertilizer have noticed that because they’re producing higher quality food, their kids are visibly healthier and household medical expenditures have gone down. With better health and lower costs come the opportunity for further improving livelihoods. The Shivansh Farming method essentially reversed the domino effect of negative outcomes, into a chain reaction of benefits.
Improving Circulation for Better Health
The team at Stage 2 is also working on medical products that work towards prevention. The first is a device aimed at improving circulation called Renew ECP. Good blood circulation is the cornerstone of good health. Blood delivers nutrients and oxygen and removes waste from cells. When blood flows freely and efficiently, the body is able to defend itself against disease. But poor circulation flow can result in serious health problems like heart disease, diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure, dementia, and cancer. Renew ECP is a blood flow enhancement apparatus developed by Stage 2 that uses external counterpulsation (ECP) to squeeze blood from the lower body into the core while the heart is at rest. It acts like an auxiliary heart pumping blood between heartbeats. This action increases circulation while reducing the heart’s workload. The enhanced circulation widens blood vessels causing more blood to reach all areas of the body.
Bhargava is on a mission to make the world a healthier happier place. Says he “if you have wealth, then it’s your duty to help those who are less privileged.” To know more about the man and his mission check out the documentary here.
This is a partnered post.