United States, Washington DC – 05-11-2020 — PRISM Initiative Aims to Address COVID-19 with Innovation-Driven Solutions Focused on Technology, Healthcare and Emergency Response Funding
Washington D.C., May 11th, 2020 – American venture builder United Global Alliance (UNITED) announced the launch of PRISM, a global initiative that addresses urgent needs created by the COVID-19 crisis among vulnerable communities. The announcement was made by Ali Diallo, co-founder and CEO of UNITED, and Todd Friedmann, General Partner at UNITED.
PRISM, which stands for Pandemic Response through Innovation and Scientific Methodology, is a multi-sector collaborative initiative centered on the deployment of technology, healthcare and humanitarian solutions in the US and in African countries such as Senegal, Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti.
Several high impact leaders have responded to UNITED’s call by joining PRISM as advisors including Michael Kleeman, of University of California, San Diego and National Chair of Strategy at the American Red Cross; Mei Lin Fung, Chair, and Dan Desmond, co-Founder at the California Health Medical Reserve Corps; Mark Richie, Co-Chair of the US World Expo Bid and former Secretary of State of Minnesota; Steven Kramer, founder and CEO of Workjam; Chris Lwanga, Sr Director of Software Partnerships at Microsoft, Houssein Ahmed, General Manager of Horizon Terminals Ltd and Honorary Consul of Equatorial Guinea; Audu Maikori, CEO of Chocolate City Group; and Prof. Oumar Gaye, former Malaria Advisor at WHO and at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
UNITED is also collaborating with well-known futurist and technology leader Nova Spivack, the group’s founding Advisor and a former mentor of Diallo, to address significant supply chain gaps created by the crisis. “Nova has been at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19 fight with Valence Medical which sources high-volume medical supplies”, says Diallo. “UNITED is honored to collaborate with him and his team on supply chain automation”.
At the humanitarian level, UNITED has partnered with the SDG Impact Fund to launch the United Impact Fund, an emergency response fund that aims at mobilizing philanthropists, foundations, community leaders and impact investors to scale relief assistance programs in the US and in Africa.
These programs include the distribution of food and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to highly impacted Black families and communities. “The pandemic has infected and killed Black people in the US at alarming rates” says Bachir Diagne, General Partner at UNITED. “It is critical that we unite our resources and empower the community with the services and the assistance it needs to reverse this disturbing trend”.
PRISM’s healthcare components include a collaboration with the California Health Medical Reserve Corps (CMRHC) to launch a mobile laboratory unit called TERA (Turnkey Emergency Relief Assistance) which aims at accelerating testing capacity. The lab also includes the Acu-CoronaTM 2.0 testing kit which UNITED is distributing through a partnership with Singapore’s Acumen Research Laboratories, deployed on CHMRC’s Screening-Sampling-Diagnostics platform.
“The need for high capacity rapid testing is extremely pressing,” says Maria Dayton, who recently left a position on the US government’s C19 task force to become a General Partner at UNITED. “As Bill Gates recently pointed out, many COVID-19 tests yield results in days which prevent infected people from reacting swiftly, and the situation is further exacerbated in low-income neighborhoods with limited access to testing facilities. PRISM is addressing this issue by assisting government agencies and healthcare organizations with mobile lab units that can produce results in minutes.”
UNITED also seeks to support clinical research and trials in partnership with Senegal’s UCAD through its Malaria Research Capacity Development Consortium program and his infectious Disease Data Observatory at the Keur Soce rural research center.
At the technology level, PRISM leverages UNITED’s expertise in digital innovation and telecom to support Africa’s most vulnerable communities. The group will deploy a proprietary last-mile connectivity solution to bring free mobile internet access to remote areas, a mobile money service in partnership with telecom operators, and a national e-learning platform in partnership with ESTEL Business School. “Our e-learning solution will empower African schools with the tools, content and methodology they need to adapt their curriculums to the changing landscape created by the pandemic”, says Arona Sy, General Partner at UNITED and Director of ESTEL.
“Annual per capita health spending is below $200 in more than half of Sub-Saharan African countries. It is critical that entrepreneurs and innovators build solutions that helps at-risk populations better prepare for unforeseen shocks”, says Diallo, who served as a White House Presidential Innovation and as a Judge of the MIT Covid-19 Africa Challenge which attracted over 1,300 participants and 300 mentors from over 100 countries.
United Global Alliance (UNITED) is a diversified American impact group with a mission to solve the world’s biggest sustainability challenges. The group leverages MIT’s Innovation-Driven Entrepreneurship (IDE) framework and a proprietary venture studio model to fund, build and scale mission-driven ventures and initiatives that are aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. UNITED powers a wide range of solutions that address financial inclusion, technology access, healthcare, impact infrastructure, digital divide and last-mile Internet connectivity. With a portfolio of 20 high-impact companies operating in 10 markets including the US, India, Jordan, Senegal and Rwanda, the group supports governments, public and financial institutions, impact investors, telecom and fintech companies, corporates and consumers.
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