Lilly and Project Hope tackle NCDs in South Africa

May 10, 2013 11:45 AM ET

Innovation, in its traditional form, is hard to find in the Johannesburg, South Africa township of Zandspruit, where we launched the Lilly NCD Partnership last year with our partner, Project HOPE. Most homes are made from irregular cuts of corrugated metal. Roofs are held down by stones. Sewage seeps through streets that are criss-crossed with illegally connected electrical wires.

It’s in this environment – and in others like it in Brazil, India, and Mexico – that the Lilly NCD Partnership hopes to find an innovative and cost-effective model for improving the health of patients through better diagnosis, treatment and long-term management of chronic diseases, especially diabetes. Ultimately, we hope these evidence-based models can be replicated and scaled up by governments around the world.

But as I walk past the lines of people waiting to see one of the two nurse practitioners in a clinic that serves 70,000 people, I can’t help but think that this going to take some of the best innovation we’ve got.

Read more from this volunteer blogging from Zandspruit, South Africa