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Sebastian Lucas

Professor of Clinical Histopathology

Sebastian Lucas made his name in the early 90s with his pioneering work on AIDS.

Having performed autopsies on more than 1000 people who died of AIDS in Africa and England, Lucas knows as much as anyone about the multiple manifestations of the disease in different environments, and his findings have had a critical influence on the management and treatment of people with HIV. "


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5 years, 10 months ago

This year the World was gripped by who would get the keys to the White House. One thing we all learnt from the 2012 Presidential election is that America is a deeply divided society and this is no more evident than in the nation’s capital.


Washington DC, the capital city of the richest country on Earth, has an HIV infection rate of 3.2%, the highest HIV rate of any large city in America and placing it well above many African cities renowned for their high prevalence of HIV AIDS. How can this be so in the world’s wealthiest nation with a plentiful supply of antiretroviral drugs, efficient systems to administer them and effective popular ways of interrupting the spread of the disease?

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Biometric identifiers are the distinctive, measurable characteristics used to label and describe individuals. In many developing economies health delivery systems are inefficient and subject to high level of losses or fraud. A way to function better would be to have a clear digital identity for those who are being treated. This would be beneficial for running health insurance programs or monitoring patients' adherence to regimes and treatments.

Recent advances in biometric identification technology offer a possible mechanism for poor countries to leapfrog traditional paper-based identity systems. Over the past five years, there has been a proliferation of biometric identification projects in developing countries. We have identified about 154 such systems covering over 2 billion people throughout the world, many in Africa, South America and South Asia.

When used smartly, technology can improve the delivery of health programs. It shifts the cost curve of program administration, giving implementation better results for their money. Technological innovations offer developing countries a way to leapfrog past and often fragmented and inefficient healthcare systems.

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