Navigation Links
Inventor honored for tech improving access to clean water, healthcare, and business development in India

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (April 28, 2010) Eighty percent of health problems and five million deaths per year in developing countries are linked to inadequate water and sanitation according to the World Water Development Report 2009. This, coupled with the lack of medical attention for rural villagers, highlights a dire need for reliable access to clean water and healthcare, problems that Dr. BP Agrawal aims to solve.

The Lemelson-MIT Program today announced Agrawal as recipient of the 2010 $100,000 Lemelson-MIT Award for Sustainability in recognition of his accomplishments. Agrawal's creation of a community-driven rainwater harvesting system and mobile health clinics have the potential to improve the global public health system and better the quality of life for villagers in rural India. These novel inventions were developed under Agrawal's Sustainable Innovations, a non-profit focused on building self-sustaining social enterprises.

Agrawal was selected as the winner of the prestigious prize by a distinguished panel of scientists, technologists, engineers and entrepreneurs. He will accept the award and present his innovations to the public at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology during the Lemelson-MIT Program's fourth-annual EurekaFest, a multi-day celebration of the inventive spirit, June 16 19.

Aakash Ganga: Access to Clean Water in Rural Areas

Funded with Agrawal's first World Bank Development Marketplace Award, Aakash Ganga (AG), or River from Sky, is a rainwater harvesting system currently installed in six drought-prone villages in Rajasthan, the driest state in India. The AG system rents rooftops from homeowners and channels the rooftop rainwater through gutters and pipes to a network of underground storage reservoirs. This network of reservoirs is designed to provide 10 12 liters of water daily to every person in an entire village for a year; to-date, it has helped 10,000 villagers gain access to clean water. Agrawal is now working with the local, state and national governments for widespread adoption of AG.

AG's holistic functionality is as vital to achieving large-scale success as is its transformative technology. Agrawal created a simple, self-sustaining execution plan villagers rent their rooftops to others, enabling them to sell water and collect what they view as "free money." 70 percent of harvested water is sold or used for individual families; the rest goes to horticulture. This dramatically improves sanitation, creates revenue to compensate each entrepreneur and covers operating costs. Additionally, the access to drinking water frees time for girls to attend school and women to be more economically productive.

Agrawal realized the importance of cultural acceptance early on, incorporating Jalwa Puja, an Indian tradition for mothers to worship at water wells, into AG's execution. Mothers are invited to worship at the shared reservoirs; in turn, they become goodwill ambassadors and shield the tanks from potential sanitation issues. AG further economizes familial bonds to ensure low-cost maintenance by engraving local mason's names onto the reservoirs. The recognition obligates villagers to take care of the reservoirs.

"AG demonstrates an alternative model that provisions water in lieu of the typical inefficient, poorly performing public works projects," says Kirsten Spainhower, Portfolio Coordinator of the Development Marketplace, World Bank. "Agrawal's system functions as a hybrid of a social enterprise and a public-private-community partnership, and takes great care to be attentive to social issues surrounding caste, class and gender."

Agrawal's rainwater harvesting system has indeed been a tremendous success, almost doubling the number of houses included in the original plan. Building on this initial accomplishment, the Indian government's Ministry of Rural Development has expressed interest in implementing AG in 40 villages, for 100,000 people, and The Department of Science and Technology is evaluating Sustainable Innovations' proposal to execute AG in 40 Rajasthan villages.

Arogya Ghar: Bringing Healthcare to the Poor

In an effort to make medical knowledge and healthcare accessible to rural populations, Agrawal also developed Arogya Ghar (Arogya), Clinics for Mass Care, with entrepreneur Atual Jain, for which he won a second World Bank Development Marketplace Award. Arogya, a system of mobile, kiosk-based clinics, is poised to alleviate the shortage of trained medical staff and improve standardized treatment protocols for common ailments and preventable diseases in India.

Arogya is owned and operated by high-school educated young women who deliver care door-to-door, after receiving training in healthcare and for-profit ventures from the Birla Institute of Technology and Science in Pilani, Rajasthan. The kiosks allow them to enter basic patient tracking information, such as symptoms and vaccination history, which physicians review to take necessary remedial measures. Villagers treated through Arogya are given unique health identifier numbers so that doctors can maintain longitudinal health records and track progress. Treatment is inexpensive, costing approximately 25 cents per visit. Agrawal's team is currently seeking collaboration with the USAID, the World Health Organization, UNICEF and social investors to scale up the kiosks to 50 villages by 2012, delivering care to 100,000 people.

"Agrawal's accomplishments take us one step closer to solving the global water crisis, and enable thousands of rural villagers to combat infection and disease in a self-sufficient, sustainable way," states Joshua Schuler, executive director of the Lemelson-MIT Program. "His ability to think outside-the-box and his inventive spirit help merge technology and tradition in order to enhance the quality of life for vulnerable, desperate populations; he is an inspiring role model for young entrepreneurs working in international development."


Contact: Julie Staadecker
Lemelson-MIT Program

Related biology news :

1. MIT student inventor honored for transformative work in genomics and linguistics
2. New Fujitsu UHF RFID Technology Implemented at Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel for Advanced Inventory Monitoring
3. Stevens to host 2009 N.J. Inventors Hall of Fame Dinner
4. Promising device snags young inventors coveted spot at IShow
5. Forest inventories in California include more than trees
6. Forest inventories in Oregon include more than trees
7. First comprehensive inventory of life in Antarctica
8. Collegiate Inventors Competition recognizes top student inventors
9. Census of Marine Life lists 122,500 known species, over halfway to complete inventory by Oct. 2010
10. National Inventors Hall of Fame welcomes 2008 inductees
11. Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Prizes 2010: 6 outstanding young researchers honored
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Inventor honored for tech improving access to clean water, healthcare, and business development in India
(Date:11/12/2015)... 11, 2015   Growing need for low-cost, ... has been paving the way for use of ... discrete analytes in clinical, agricultural, environmental, food and ... used in medical applications, however, their adoption is ... to continuous emphasis on improving product quality and ...
(Date:11/10/2015)...  In this report, the biomarkers market ... type, application, disease indication, and geography. The ... consumables, services, software. The type segments included ... biomarkers, and validation biomarkers. The applications segments ... drug discovery and development, personalized medicine, disease ...
(Date:11/9/2015)... DUBLIN , Nov. 09, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... announced the addition of the "Global ... to their offering. --> ... "Global Law Enforcement Biometrics Market 2015-2019" ... Research and Markets ( ) ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... , ... November 24, 2015 , ... The Academy of ... Interest Group (SIG), MultiGP, also known as Multirotor Grand Prix, to represent the First–Person ... few years. Many AMA members have embraced this type of racing and several new ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... Israel , Nov. 24, 2015  Tikcro Technologies Ltd. (OTCQB: TIKRF) ... on December 29, 2015 at 11:00 a.m. Israel ... Electra Tower, 98 Yigal Allon Street, 36 th Floor, ... of Eric Paneth and Izhak Tamir to the ... Rami Skaliter as external directors; , approval of an amendment to ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... , ... November 24, 2015 , ... ... the environment are paramount. Insertion points for in-line sensors can represent a weak ... the InTrac 781/784 series of retractable sensor housings , which are designed ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... /CNW Telbec/ - ProMetic Life Sciences Inc. (TSX: PLI) (OTCQX: ... Pierre Laurin , President and Chief Executive Officer of ProMetic, ... Jaffray 27 th Annual Healthcare Conference to be held ... st , at 8.50am (ET) and ProMetic,s ... day. The presentation will be available live via a webcast ...
Breaking Biology Technology: