The twin events created a humanitarian crisis that stirred one entrepreneurial Mawrter to action. As founder of a volunteer-run health initiative called Medication for Nepal (MFN), Sumana Shrestha ’07 has seen more than 9.5 tons of life-saving drugs to 15 districts in Nepal, effectively saving thousands of lives and building a reach to 2.5 million of the poorest Nepalese citizens.
As Shrestha explains on the MFN website, “I started Medication for Nepal with a single belief—basic health care should be accessible to every body. It is great to see such a sense of compassion among people. It gives me a lot of hope. Together with everyone's engagement and social innovation, we will change the rural Nepal.”
MFN utilizes an innovative, technology-based peer-to-peer network to capture transparent data sets about medicine shortages in remote areas of Nepal and delivers donated medication through the coordination with numerous organizations, volunteers, and district health communities. A web-based platform also allows micropayments for as little as 15 cents, which enables broader participation and reach.
“The strength of MFN lies in the use of technology to be transparent and reduce the cost of service delivery, in addition to a method of social innovation that takes an inclusive approach to engage people to help,” Shrestha says. “The key lies in collaboration and empowering locals to take charge of their problems.”
In June, MFN was one of the eight participants from Nepal at the 2016 Global Entrepreneurship Summit hosted by President Barack Obama. The president gave the organization a shout-out in his speech to the program attendees. Shrestha also received praise from Daymond John, FUBU founder and 2015 Presidential Ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship in a blog published on the White House website. [Watch a video of Shrestha talking about her work and her experience at the Summit.]
“I'm excited to meet people like Sumana Shrestha,” John wrote, who started Medication for Nepal, an organization that uses technology to tackle inefficiencies and high health care costs, ensuring medical access for the most vulnerable populations in her country.”