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Future Health Threats: Prevent

How might we make novel, sustainable and environmentally neutral tools to prevent the spillover and spread of vector-borne diseases like the Zika virus?

Vector-borne diseases, like Zika, Malaria, and West Nile, pose increasing challenges as these insects become more resistant to insecticides and standard vector control approaches. The potential spillover of diseases from animals to humans creates additional risk of diseases that we have never seen before emerging. How might we make novel, sustainable and environmentally neutral tools to prevent the spillover and spread of vector-borne diseases like the Zika virus?

Vector Control

Vector-borne diseases are the primary culprit for spreading diseases like Zika, Dengue and Yellow Fever. The growing resistance to insecticides – and the occurrence of diseases carried by vectors that are not vulnerable to standard approaches (like urban, outdoor, daytime biting mosquitoes) especially compounds the need for new vector control strategies.

Help find novel, sustainable and environment-neutral approaches for reducing or eliminating populations of disease vectors like these.

Personal, Household and Community Protection

The ability to protect oneself from vector-borne diseases, like Zika, Dengue, Yellow Fever and SARs is critical. Current personal protection products that repel insects and kill viruses can be difficult to adopt and maintain because they require frequent reapplication or replenishment, and are often unappealing to use due to smell, skin or eye irritation, or comfort. Moreover, given the challenges with protecting against urban, daytime and outdoor biting mosquitoes, our focus will need to shift beyond individual-level protection to household, school and workplace protection.

Help uncover how might we design new tools and approaches to help individuals, households and communities reduce their indoor and outdoor exposure – especially solutions that are rapidly deployable, affordable, scalable and socially acceptable.

Healthcare Worker Safety

As we saw with the recent Ebola outbreak, sometimes the equipment healthcare workers use to protect themselves is not optimally designed – whether for that specific infection, or for the specific environment they are working in. This can make it hard for healthcare workers to do their jobs effectively, while also putting them at risk for infection.

How might we protect healthcare workers to address the shortcomings of today’s standard equipment with practical solutions – and by filling gaps where solutions do not yet exist with bold, imaginative, forward-thinking new ideas?

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