Rethinking R & D: RTI International at a Glance

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SEATTLE, Washington- Research Triangle Institute International (RTI) is a non-profit research and development organization with the mission to improve the human condition through “turning knowledge into practice.” How this institute of over 50 years has achieved milestones in the realm of global poverty is through its state- of-the-art research in over 75 countries around the world.

And why is this one organization important, might you ask? Just ask how important RTI is to its clients, which include the U.S Agency for International Development (USAID), Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, U.K. Department for International Development, World Bank, and multiple United Nations agencies.

Often, opponents of foreign aid lack an in-depth look at why we should make an effort to help the global poor. Perhaps that stems from a lack of understanding of something distinctly fundamental to all efforts across all agencies. Opponents may not realize that great measures are taken to set a clear path to prevent waste, improve efficiency, and get the job done effectively. With 50 years of experience under its belt, RTI is a prime example of just that.

RTI is a powerhouse in global health technologies. Not only does the institute provide technical support, but also draws from its knowledge base ethical and sustainable practices in the areas in which it is hired to operate. Maternal health clinics in a developing country may be provided with the tools to deliver practical care for women, but also will be provided with training and education for healthcare workers and individuals alike.

We also want to remove from our minds the misconception that infectious disease is an impossible, uphill battle. Since 1998, RTI has been on the front-lines battling Malaria, a leading cause of deaths in Africa, along with USAID, World Health Organization, the Center for Disease Control, and many others. It developed MEEDS ­­­­­― Malaria Early Epidemic Detection System ― a tool that uses text-messaging technology to report cases of Malaria, and subsequently attack the disease where it breaks out. From July through December 2012, Zanzibar healthcare providers used MEEDS to report 980 new cases of malaria. Since its inception, malaria incidence rates have dropped dramatically. Now, how is that for efficient and effective?

Providing viable solutions to environmental problems involving air, water, and waste disposal are another specialty of RTI International. Biomass―wood, coal, animal dung― used in cook stoves are a leading cause of child and maternal deaths in the developing world. In order to prevent the toxic black carbon emissions emitting from open cook stoves, RTI will utilize 40 years of environmental contaminant research to determine the effects of carbon emissions, and how better designed cook stoves can be produced to save countless lives.

In short, calculated research and the development of innovative solutions help in our fight against poverty. The way that RTI International has embarked on this journey as a forerunner in the field is an example we must recognize.

– Aysha Rasool
Feature Writer

Source: MEEDS, RTI
Photo: RTI

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