The British entrepreneur who sold a football Web site at the age of 17 for $40 million (20 million pounds) has switched his attention to help launch a social networking site on Sunday designed to fight malaria
“Travelling across Africa and seeing the devastation caused by malaria made me realise there was more to life than putting up soccer scores,” said Hadfield.
“Everyone I met at an aid project making mosquito nets in Zambia had either lost a child to malaria or knew someone who had.”
… Hadfield co-founded the site with health professors Peter A. Singer and Abdallah S. Daar at Canada’s McLaughlin-Rotman Centre for Global Health at University Health Network as well as the University of Toronto
Malaria is a largely preventable disease, yet it kills millions of people.
MalariaEngage impresses me for two reasons.
1. Social media platforms like this enable charities and researchers to build compelling online presence and interaction at a price point that would have been inconceivable even a couple years ago.
“It’s about more than about giving money — it’s about creating connections. By encouraging individual participation and involvement, we will create international communities of common interest. This is the essence of social networking.”
2. By linking donations to local research, it boosts local skills and research, and explores new avenues for practical cures and preventions. Strengthening African research is goodness. Malaria impacts those least able to pay for medicine, so it is a tragic example of market failure. The global pharma industry has not really addressed the challenge of malaria, so perhaps local research is the answer.
We feel young African scientists have very good ideas that end up in the dustbin,” said Singer. “This is about helping committed young researchers with good ideas to help themselves create a better future.”
Well done to Hadfield, Singer and Daar.