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Start crowdsourcing healthcare

Start crowdsourcing healthcare

It has been estimated that as many as one billion people around the world cannot afford adequate medical care. The vast majority of these people live in the developing world, meaning that mortality rates are highest among the global poor.

There are many reasons why providing care to the poorest is hard. The lack of good infrastructure makes it very difficult to build and maintain healthcare networks. Another major factor is that there are often structural problems – for instance how are people meant to take a complex cocktail of medicines at specific times if there is no reliable way to tell the time?

However both of these, and many other reasons, tend to come under the umbrella of the big overarching problem: there is simply not enough money in poor communities to provide high quality modern healthcare to everyone. Assuming that big pharmaceutical companies will not suddenly start supplying medicine for free, how can the developed world help with this problem?

The traditional way is for large government loans or big lump sums from charities to be handed out to whatever causes are deemed worthwhile. This sort of detached aristocratic largesse is good in principle, but in reality it creates medical solutions which suffer from the twin indignities of being both piecemeal and temporary. It might make us feel better for a while, but does it really help?

At the other end of the process, giving big chunks of money in one go makes it hard to be transparent with how the money is used. It is no surprise that one of the biggest worries with this sort of charity is that funds are wasted.

With these problems in mind, people have started to utilise modern technology to offer solutions. Watsi is a great example of this and is a somewhat ingenious system which allows people to donate small, individual amounts to transparently crowdsource healthcare for people in developing countries who would otherwise not be able to afford it.

By making a donation through Watsi you can directly fund lifesaving surgeries or treatments for people from around the world without going through an intermediary with administration fees.

Watsi works by identifying patients in partner countries who require low-cost, high-impact surgery or procedures. The patient profile is submitted to Watsi which then reviews it. If the profile passes their criteria then Watsi guarantees to fund the surgery and start looking for donations immediately.

In this way, you can find out about the person you are donating to – where they are in the world, why they need treatment, how long the treatment will take, exactly how much it costs, and much more. More than 15,000 people have had their care funded so far and there are many more to come.

The downside of this is that the surgery won’t take place until fully funded by the Watsi user base, but given that the majority of patients are in situations and places where they wouldn’t have surgery anyway this doesn’t seem like the biggest downside in the world. Anyone can get involved and donate as much or as little as they like.

To find out more about how you can help people through Watsi, have a look at their website here: https://watsi.org/

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