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How Danica Stanojevic is Revolutionizing Diabetes Care

by Danica Stanojević, BBA 2014

My name is Danica Stanojević, I took Marketing in the fourth year of my iBBA with Markus Giesler, and I'm the co-founder of REACH Diagnostics, a social enterprise that aims to provide citizens living in urban slums with access to inexpensive diagnostic tools that will promote detection and regular screening of diabetes.

My Big Idea: REACH Diagnostics

REACH Diagnostics was founded to provide urban slum citizens with access to inexpensive diagnostic tools that will promote detection and regular screening of non-communicable diseases. We empower these citizens with employment opportunities as salespeople and advocates of a healthier lifestyle to disrupt the current vicious poverty-illness cycle consuming their communities. Our vision is to build a healthier and economically empowered future for the more than 800MM people living in resource-poor, peri-urban areas. REACH Diagnostics was born out of a desire to disrupt the current health inequalities overshadowing urban slums while improving the life of underprivileged slum citizens through early diagnosis, treatment practices, care initiatives and eventual prevention.

I'm doing this because...

While people living in the developed world enjoy access to diagnostic and treatment regimes, the mortality rate from diabetes in the developing world is astonishing. There are currently more than 75 million diabetics living in slums, but due to the lack of basic healthcare infrastructure they often don’t discover their ailment until it has reached a very late stage. At this point the disease has already resulted in severe complications, which can lead to dangerous amputations, expensive treatment, and other illnesses such as hypertension and tuberculosis. The idea was sparked through our participation in the Hult Prize competition. As the world’s largest business case competition, the Hult Prize aims to launch the next wave of social entrepreneurs. Posed by former President Bill Clinton, this year’s challenges was to treat, care for, or triage 25 million urban slum dwellers suffering from non-communicable diseases by 2019. With this immense challenge before us, we conceptualized REACH Diagnostics as a means to not only help those currently suffering but to break the downward spiraling poverty cycle associated with NCDs. As the winners of the regional finals in Shanghai we are preparing for the finals in NYC this September. We are on the ground in India, testing our concept and perfecting it in order to win the grand prize of USD1 million in seed funding to truly make REACH a reality. 

Things I've learned

The concepts we developed in Professor Giesler’s course contributed greatly to the development of the business model for REACH Diagnostics. In particular, the concepts of market-based social problem-solving and the responsible consumer were critical in developing the model. While we stress that market-based healthcare solutions can and should only be a first and provisional step towards the creation of a formal healthcare infrastructure, we make healthcare more accessible and affordable by bringing screening and diagnostic tools to the fingertips of those living in urban slums. REACH Diagnostics also gives diabetics an opportunity to co-create value by acting as health entrepreneurs and educators, or as we call them “Catalysts.” These three concepts - market-based social problem solving, responsible consumption, and value co-creation - that were taught in Professor Giesler’s course helped challenge our existing views of marketing and to come up with a more innovative business model to help address the global challenge of diabetes.

For more information about REACH Diagnostics visit us at: http://reach25.org

To keep track of what our team is doing in the field in India and at home in Canada, follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/reachdiagnostic and on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/reach25