Business opportunity
Tropical arboviruses are becoming a new threat for public health worldwide due to the increasing climate change. According to a recent report of Liverpool University and the UK Government's Health Protection Agency, Europe’s Continent's changing climate raises fears that dengue fever could come to South of England. Similarly, a recent report by PLOS states that Chagas disease (another arbovirus) could become “The New HIV/AIDS of the Americas”. Finally, the Washington Post in January 2011 noted the opinion of Harvard biologist Paul R. Epstein, whose malaria map and 2000 article heralded the impact of global warming on the spread of infectious diseases. For the first time in decades, health care systems face a daunting task to avoid panic and confusion and provide the necessary logistical work for the proper diagnosis and management of these infections, which many thought to be extinguished for good. Soon, it will not be possible to brand neglected tropical diseases as such.

Arboviruses carrying neglected tropical diseases are especially harmful in poorer countries, where health resources are usually scarce and budgets are constrained by multiple needs. Epidemic outbreaks are particularly harmful due to the isolation of endangered populations, and practical difficulties for health authorities to reach them. Costs of public health in these countries are prohibitive and cannot ensure a proper treatment of the sick or displaying costly preventive campaigns. Increasingly, there is a need for informed decisions regarding the implementation of effective control strategies to ensure that elevated or emerging virus activity is detected before an outbreak occurs, as well as for establishing a baseline of arbovirus activity once it has been detected in patients.

Indeed, health costs are typically high, in both poorer and richer countries; this is a structural feature of this industry. Most countries are faced with a severe problem of high costs in their healthcare system management, due to the need for physical presence of both physician and patient. Healthcare delivery and diagnostics have always required a physical encounter between physicians and patients that concluded with a diagnosis and treatment prescription. This method carries significant downsides and costs for society, since access to and quality of care are not homogeneously available across geographies.

In addition, aging populations, medical procedure costs, resource constraints and patient increased knowledge about health issues, has triggered a dramatic increase of healthcare costs. Health spending continues to increase much faster than the overall economy (i.e., gross domestic product, or GDP). Over the last 50 years, healthcare spend has outpaced GDP growth by about 2% a year in most OECD countries (Mc Kinsey 2009); since 1970, health care spending has grown at an average annual rate of 9.9%, or about 2.5 percentage points faster than GDP (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services). A linear projection of the current trend would mean that healthcare could account for 98% of the US GDP before the end of the century.

At the same time, telecom costs have dropped dramatically over the last ten years, to the point of making this technology easily available to everyone. In many countries telecoms penetration now exceeds 100% of the population. 

This scenario offers a huge opportunity for firms capable of using telecom technology effectively to reduce healthcare costs and improve the provision of healthcare dramatically by offering better services of a larger number of patients; providing easily standardized care through centralization and IT developments; and creating a network connecting all parties involved (physicians, hospitals, patients, medical insurers, etc.) for integrated care.

We believe that the dramatic reduction of technology and communication costs occurred in the last decade opens an opportunity to provide a high return on investment through the marketing of low cost, simple devices that marries natural and sustainable resources with the latest advanced technology.
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