World Health Day 2020 and Covid-19 emergency: the challenges for the world of innovation

Every April 7 the World Health Day occurs and for this occasion the World Health Organization (WHO) plans some international initiatives, proposing measures and interventions for strengthening the health system and raising awareness among citizens.

Historical Background

World Health Day has been celebrated for over 70 years on April 7, the date on which the World Health Assembly met for the first time in 1948, and since then this day is an occasion to promote long-term programs which are suggested to be implemented in each Country of the world.

The 2020 challenges of the World Health Organization

The World Health Day 2020 is the year dedicated to the support of nurses and midwives, essential figures for the daily maintenance of hospital structures.

They interface most with patients and their families, and create a bridge between medical technicalities and the human impact of health-related problems.

Furthermore, on this day the Report on the situation of nursing care 2020 will be launched, in which the numerical needs of professional figures will be highlighted, along with their wages that should be commensurate with the services and the quality of care provided.

What’s there to celebrate?

These needs all have another meaning today, in the light of the Covid-19 pandemic that has affected our Country and the world. This is the real challenge today. The integration of employees, the strengthening of the structures, the sanitary material, all this is emergency, no longer rhetoric, while there is a race to the last mask and the efforts of all professionals in the sector seem insufficient.

Italy of solidarity

In Italy, where the reduction of the infection seems still far away, drastic measures have been implemented, in compliance with one of the fundamental principles of the Italian Constitution, Article 32, which considers health protection a fundamental right of individual and community.

We know, however, that it isn’t the same in the rest of the world, especially for those realities in which not everyone has the free access to healthcare.

In these days we are wondering about the responsibilities of the health system and its areas for improvement, but it’s strong the awareness that our commitment, solidarity and prevention can save everyone’s life.

In addition, many private companies are currently converting their production to ensure protection and support material, which is essential to manage the health emergency. White coats, masks, disinfectant and medical devices are being produced by renowned Italian fashion houses, automotive companies and other production sectors.

We need the future: innovative startups join the fray

Nobody takes a step back, especially the world of innovation. Everyone wants to give a solid and universal response to citizens’ health needs.

In fact, a big push comes from the field of innovation and technology, which has mobilized to reply in a very short time to the call of local authorities and Civil Protection, and to the needs of the whole Country, which has to deal with shortages of medical material, and it had also to quickly learn the smart working mode and to guarantee essential services, sometimes even remotely.

Startups and innovative companies have always known their potential, and today even more are demonstrating their strong contribution and a lot of solidarity, offering their services for free and in some cases extraordinarily turning their production and providing sanitary components.

This is the case of Isinnova, the company that, using 3D printing, produced first emergency valves for respirators, then it integrated them into Decathlon’s EasyBreath masks, thanks to the idea of ​​Dr. Roberto Favero. The Charlotte valve, this is its name, is applied to a snorkeling mask and it transforms it into an emergency respirator. The mask was initially tested at the Brescia hospital and is now distributed nationwide, while the hospistal are waiting official electromedical supplies.

As stated by the startup which developed the idea, neither the mask nor the valve connection are certified, and their use is a quick and efficient response to the difficult situation.

However, the Charlotte valve design has been patented, but it will remain free so that all hospitals can use it.

Image: isinnova.it

The rapid distribution of this component has been facilitated by the work of another company, Oldrati Group, that deals with manufacturing production and created a mold to reproduce the Easy-Covid19 valve on an industrial scale. In this way, the reproduction of plastic injection molding allows to standardize the production and guarantee precision and speed.

Although given the emergency it’s difficult – if not impossible – to certify these devices before their use, these initiatives represent a rapid response and sometimes the only hope to save the lives of those who are fighting the virus.

Finally, among the local initiatives that have created a real solidarity network, we would like to mention the Cultural Association “Francesco Marco Attanasi ONLUS, which launched the #cifacciamoin3D project, and it produced until now over 1000 protective visors already distributed in healthcare structures close to Lecce and also requested by the “Luigi Sacco” hospital in Milan.

Giuseppe Toma and Matteo Greco, the promoters of the initiative, launched a social appeal involving associations, startups, high schools and many 3D makers who made their 3D printer available to contribute and support the project.

We also gave our contribution, trying to support the startups’ ecosystem offering the possibility for 3 early-stage startups to get a one-hour free consultation to get feedback on the Pitch Deck /P&L Statement setting, because we believe that solidarity and networking are always important, especially in hard times like these.

In these days, the world of innovation is really showing that it is ready to face increasingly difficult challenges, and that innovative startups and SMEs can make a real difference also in the health sector.

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