Archive for August, 2006

In Praise of ‘Kitchen Table Heroines’

13 August, 2006

Cristina Odone praises ‘Kitchen Table Heroines’

Her column also mentions a briefly uplifting story amidst the chaos at London’s Heathrow airport during the recent security alert.


Cutting Medicine Costs

12 August, 2006

According to my research, there is a generic version of Imatinib manufactured in India which costs a dollar a tablet, as opposed to $16 – 20 a tablet for the Novartis version in the US or Europe.

As there has been no response from Orion Laboratories (of The Orion Group), and although I will call them anyway, I now need to approach an alternative manufacturer based in India.

I only hope their generic version meets the relevant licensing and certification requirements.

The Ashoka Ireland Apprentice?

9 August, 2006

Whilst working on some other voluntary work for environmental group Voice and trying to organise the broadband and a phone extension in what will be my office, I also call Paul O’Hara of Ashoka Ireland, to ask about the criteria for the Social Entrepreneurship fellowship advertised on Activelink.

The selection process they have for applicants sounds quite rigorous: something along the lines of The Apprentice, but with the emphasis obviously on social entrepreneurship.

From Emails to Begging Letters…

7 August, 2006

Emails arrive from two potential blog designers, who seem enthusiastic, and from the NGO.

I need to register a .org domain. One of the designers can host the blog as well as customise a template with graphics and RSS buttons. I need to try and get this right so it looks professional, so will take my time – but not too long – in choosing a template.

I need to find out more information from Orion Laboratories, so I have emailed them to see if they will help out with supplies of the Leukaemia drug Imanitib. 

We also need to approach Glaxo Smithkline to see if they will supply us with Pentostam, to treat a tropical disease which is prevalent in Iraqi children.

Have placed another ad on the excellent Freelance Ireland website again, to see if I can find a voluntary german-english translator to translate a report from the NGO and some of the content on their website. 

Meanwhile, the operating theatre in one of the Basra hospitals “is in a terrible condition,” and another unit in the building also needs a lot of work. Finding a way to tackle that is going to be difficult. 

Now that a new front has opened up in the Middle East, other hospitals will find themselves in similar conditions, lacking basic supplies and services, and the more vital ones needed to carry out their work. 

The “War on Terror” glorified military dominance and firepower. TV pictures of bombs being dropped and arms being fired looked not unlike a fireworks display when they played across the airwaves.

Somewhere below, in the midst of the dark, unlit and unseen areas on the screen, there were homes, schools and hospitals – the places where a free society quietly goes about its daily life – being destroyed.  

To other matters – John Caudwell, a well-known telecoms entrepreneur in the UK, has made a shedload of money from the sale of The Caudwell Group, £1.24 billion, to be precise.

He plans to sail around the world and then look at other business ventures, as well as continue working with his charity, which helps sick and disadvantaged children.

Mobile Today jokes that ‘the inevitable begging letters’ will soon be dropping through Caudwell’s letterbox.

£1.24 billion could go a long way…

Plenty of Money, No Common Sense

6 August, 2006

The Health Service Executive has € 500 million to spend on a new childrens hospital in Dublin, yet has not consulted medical staff themselves – paediatricians and doctors – to ask for their input into the project. 

Even though a country may be awash with money, it seems there will always be disagreements in how to do things.  In Iraq, meanwhile, I doubt they waste much time arguing about such things. I expect they just get on and do what is necessary, managing as best as they can with their very limited resources. 

Money may buy modern facilities and equipment, but it would seem it doesn’t necessarily buy common sense or the slightest bit of lateral thinking.