If you live in a remote village in Liberia and you get sick, seeing a doctor might involve a canoe ride down a river and two days of walking through the rainforest. Clinics are similarly hard to reach for roughly a billion people around the world.
The winner of this year's $1 million TED Prize–Rajesh Panjabi, the founder of a nonprofit called Last Mile Health–has a solution for poor, remote communities that can't afford to hire doctors and nurses. Instead of recruiting trained medical professionals, the organization hires local community members, some of whom may have only a middle-school education. Then it gives them the training needed to screen and treat common illnesses like malaria, providing local jobs as it fills the health care gap.