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Waste not, want not, say global sanitation innovators

Last week's C-IDEA global health symposium here at Stanford featured 20 presentations on low-cost ideas for preventing disease in developing nations. As I wrote in an Inside Stanford Medicine article on the event, one of the more clever ideas was "EZPZ," a method for treating latrine waste with alkalizing lime so that pathogens that might leak into the water supply can be eliminated and the waste can be recycled as crop fertilizer. Developed by a Stanford team from the "Design for Extreme Affordability" course offered at the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design, this solution not only reduces diarrheal diseases, but it also provides Cambodian farming households with about $40 of fertilizer each year.

Another highlight of the conference was the keynote speech delivered by Jeffrey Sachs, PhD, director of The Earth Institute at Columbia University and author of the bestselling book The End of Poverty. Sachs' call to action for the packed hall of global health innovators was this: The developing world needs you to create smart phone apps that connect people in isolated rural villages to good medical care, clean water and medicine.

Previously: What I did this summer: Stanford medical student helps India nonprofit create community-health maps and A story of how children from Calcutta's poorest neighborhood became leaders in improving health

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