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20 cheap ideas to help the poor

Alertnet, a Reuters News service devoted to humanitarian issues, surveyed a number of experts to come up with a list of 20 innovative — and, well, some fairly obvious– inexpensive ideas and gizmos that could do a lot to help the poor and improve the welfare of many worldwide:

1. Using paper to test for liver damage

2. TB treatment in a combined pill

3. Birth mat

4. Spreading the Kangaroo method

5. Low-cost infant incubator

6. Promoting breastfeeding

7. Using vinegar to fight cervical cancer

8. The bed net

9. Simple hand washing

10. Water mapping

11. Crisis mapping

12. Using mobile phones to improve health care

13. Using mobile phones to reward TB patients

14.  Free online master classes

15. A shoe for a shoe

16. Eyes on the prize

17. Single-use syringes

18. Marmite-inspired lanterns

19. Harnessing solar power

20. Dry toilets


About Author

Tom Paulson

Tom Paulson is founder and lead journalist at Humanosphere. Prior to operating this online news site, he reported on science,  medicine, health policy, aid and development for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Contact him at tom[at] or follow him on Twitter @tompaulson.