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Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus Joins mHealth Alliance Board

Inventor of micro-credit and leader in helping the world???s poor joins mobile health group

Dhaka, Bangladesh and Washington, DC —   November 2, 2010

The mHealth Alliance, a group that is leveraging the growing reach of wireless technologies to support improved health delivery and outcomes in underserved communities today announced the appointment of Professor Muhammad Yunus, founder of the Grameen Movement and winner of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize, to its Partnership Board.

“The use of technology to improve access to health is dear to me, especially in the farthest reaches of the developing world, where it is needed most,” said Professor Yunus. “I look forward to working closely with the other members of the mHealth Alliance Partnership Board. Together we can make real the promise of mHealth: leveraging the power of the world’s mobile networks and devices to make better health available to people everywhere.”

From Bangladesh, where women in rural villages use mobile phones to call health specialists and doctors in health clinics provided by the government when their children are sick, to Tanzania, where health workers send SMS messages to ensure proper stocks of anti-malarial drugs, mHealth is beginning to change the way the world provides medical treatment and access to healthcare.

David Aylward, mHealth Alliance Executive Director, commented, “Professor Yunus has demonstrated a unique level of success in developing new ideas to solve longstanding problems of the poorest people on the planet. His experience and his passion for helping the unserved and underserved will be invaluable in advancing the mission of the mHealth Alliance.”

The announcement is made just prior to one of the mHealth Alliance’s marquee initiatives –- the 2010 mHealth Summit. The Summit, a partnership of the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH), the National Institutes of Health, and the mHealth Alliance, is the leading conference advancing cross-sector collaboration in the use of wireless technology to improve health outcomes. About 2,000 leaders from around the world are expected to attend the 2010 mHealth Summit, to be held November 8-10 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC.  Over three days, leaders in government, private sector/industry, academia, and not-for-profit organizations will advance discussion and decision-making related to the intersection of mobile technology, health research, and policy in the United States and abroad. For more information, visit www.mhealthsummit.org.

Muhammad Yunus Background

Professor Muhammad Yunus, founder of the Grameen Movement, winner of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize and a member of the United Nations Foundation Board of Directors, is responsible for many innovative programs benefiting the rural poor. In 1974, Yunus pioneered the idea of Gram Sarker (village government) as a form of local government based on the participation of rural people. This concept proved successful and was adopted by the Bangladeshi government in 1980. In 1978, Yunus received the President’s Award for Tebhaga Khamar (a system of cooperative three-share farming, which the Bangladeshi government adopted as the Packaged Input Program in 1977). Yunus is also noted for the creation of micro-credit with the Grameen Bank, which provides small loans to the poor and serves as a catalyst for improving their socioeconomic conditions.

Yunus has received widespread recognition for his work, including the Nobel Peace Prize, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Congressional Medal, the Ramon Magsaysay Award from Manila, the Aga Khan Award for Architecture from Geneva, the Mohamed Shabdeen Award for Science from Sri Lanka and the World Food Prize from the United States. Within Bangladesh, he has received the President’s Award, the Central Bank Award and the Independence Day Award, the nation’s highest honor.

He attended Vanderbilt University on a Fulbright Scholarship and received his Ph.D. in Economics in 1969. He taught briefly in the U.S. before returning to Bangladesh, where he joined the Economics Department at Chittagong University. Yunus lives in Dhaka, Bangladesh. He is married with two daughters.

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About the mHealth Alliance
The mHealth Alliance (mHA) mobilizes innovation to deliver quality health at the furthest reaches of wireless networks and mobile devices. Working with diverse partners, the mHA advances mHealth through research, advocacy, and support for the development of interoperable solutions and sustainable deployment models. The mHA sponsors innovation challenges and conferences, leads cross-sector mHealth initiatives, and hosts HUB (Health UnBound), a global online community for resource sharing and collaborative solution generation. Hosted by the United Nations Foundation, and created by the UN, Rockefeller, and Vodafone Foundations, the mHA now includes the GSM Association and PEPFAR among its founding partners. More information is available at www.mhealthalliance.org

About the United Nations Foundation
The United Nations Foundation, a public charity, was created in 1998 with entrepreneur and philanthropist Ted Turner’s historic $1 billion gift to support UN causes and activities. The UN Foundation builds and implements public/private partnerships to address the world’s most pressing problems, and works to broaden support for the UN through advocacy and public outreach. Through campaigns and partnerships, the organization connects people, ideas, and resources to help the UN solve global problems. The campaigns reduce child mortality, empower women and girls, create a new energy future, secure peace and human rights, and promote technology innovation to improve health outcomes. These solutions are helping the UN advance the eight global targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). For more information, visit www.unfoundation.org.

 
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