A team from the Indian School of Business in Hyderabad received the 2014 Hult Prize, picking up $1 million in funding to launch the novel ‘Doc in the Box’ initiative, a diagnostic tool for chronic disease management in the world’s slums.
Former U.S. President Bill Clinton presented the award to the NanoHealth team Sept. 16 at the ninth annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative, which each year draws heads of state, business leaders and social innovators from around the globe to address the world’s most pressing crises.
The Hult Prize, founded in 2009 by young social entrepreneur Ahmad Ashkar, is the world’s largest prize for budding social entrepreneurs. Each year, MBA students from 600 business schools in 150 countries present innovations to address a specific challenge offered by Bill Clinton. The 2014 challenge was to address the lack of health care for millions of people living in slums who are suffering from preventable chronic diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.
Non-communicable diseases are the leading cause of death around the globe, said Clinton at the ceremony.
Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus, one of the world’s most-recognized social entrepreneurs, has called the Hult Prize a “Nobel Prize for business students.”
At a dinner before the winners were announced, six finalist teams presented their initiatives to a panel of live judges, who made their decisions on the spot. The high-pressure situation caused physician Ramanathan Lakshmanan of the NanoHealth team to faint onstage after making his presentation. CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta, who was a judge at the event, was able to attend to Lakshmanan onstage, and the Indian American doctor quickly got him to a nearby hospital’s emergency room.
The judges included Clinton, Gupta, Yunus, Aramex founder Fadi Ghandour, Ashish Thakkar, young founder and CEO of Mara Group, and Kathleen Rogers, president of Earth Day.
The urban slum dweller feels sidelined by the health care system, said physician Ashish Bondia onstage. “She feels she is invisible to the society she serves,” he said, adding that NanoHealth aims to bring health care to the slum dweller’s doorstep.
Under-diagnosis, poor treatment and poor prescription compliance of chronic diseases leads to premature death, said Bondia, adding that 850 million people around the world live in slums; 250 million of them suffer from preventable chronic diseases that kill 4.5 million slum dwellers per year.