During the day, my nose knows no place but the hidden anthers within the flowers—flowers are one of the top exports from Colombia. Yet, when I am home after having consumed some arepas de queso (cheese, corn-based pancake of sorts), avocado and passion fruit drink, “A safe place to land” plays on repeat on my Spotify. I am not sure what I am really thinking or feeling with this song (it is a bit intense for my happy, jumbo Colombia attitude), but music usually translates aspects of my feelings; it is one of my favourite languages. But this kind of dissection of emotions will have to be for another time; maybe down the road…
At work, I am learning a bit about how the social innovation in health initiative hub, in the Latin American and Caribbean region (SIHI LAC). And about how they are able to connect and communicate with numerous countries including Guatemala, Honduras, Ecuador, Venezuela…My Spanish is pretty poor, but I just follow a friend (Priyanka, from Nepal), who can chop her way through the language. She is my Colombian partner in crime. We go on adventurous adventures. We walk hours (after departing far from the fancy neighbourhood of Pance, on the “Mio” public transportation); we walk into and along the borders of the San Antonio community, admiring streeting art and churches.
After morning coffees (mind you, I am a tea person), I usually try to understand the work of SIHI LAC’s work: with the Cidiem Research Institution on infectious diseases of poverty; on social appropriation, in exploring social and cultural contexts to effectively deliver healthcare solutions; in communication systems (particularly with respect to ongoing contests and connecting with their partner countries); reaching out to innovators from neighbouring countries.
The innovators I am talking to are from the SIHI LAC crowdsourcing call in 2017, on social innovation in healthcare delivery in Central America and the Caribbean:
· Eco-health approach to fight Chagas Disease (Guatemala): Utilizes community resourced building materials to work against the deadliest parasitic disease (Chagas) in Latin America—gotten from the “kissing bugs”—by replenishing and fixing homes that harbour these bugs.
· MosquitaMed: Shortening Distances Through Telemedicine (Honduras): Uses community-based solutions, mobile technology, telemedicine (via a gathering health professionals) to consult with members of the Miskistos community, who have limited access to healthcare services.
I have already started interviewing them, and hope to share more about their innovation, its implementation, sustainability and challenges. Stay tuned!