Qualcomm Reaches Out to the World

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A leader in wireless communications brings the benefits of advanced technology to underserved communities

While tuberculosis cases have declined steadily in the industrialized world over the past 70 years, TB remains a leading cause of death in developing countries. Indeed, in 2020, 86 percent of new cases worldwide occurred in just eight countries: India, China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Pakistan, Nigeria, Bangladesh and South Africa.

In India, where 500,000 deaths were reported in 2020—fully a third of the worldwide total—Operation ASHA provides tuberculosis treatment and health services to the poorest of the poor in India’s urban slums and rural villages. Headquartered in San Diego, U.S. technology giant Qualcomm is figuring importantly in that effort, through its Wireless Reach™ initiative, launched in 2007 to bring advanced wireless technologies to underserved communities around the world. Working with Operation ASHA, Qualcomm developed a mobile app that enables community health workers to educate themselves about TB and its treatments and thus provide patients with better-informed counseling and access to appropriate therapies.

“Early diagnosis of tuberculosis together with completion of a full treatment regimen is the cornerstone of an effective TB prevention and control strategy,” says Qualcomm India president Rajen Vagadia. “But the tuberculosis treatment regimen prescribed by the World Health Organization is painful and lengthy, and getting patients to adhere to it is a challenge.” To date, the Qualcomm e-counseling app has led to appreciably higher adherence—and survival rates—among patients using it compared to patients who did not.

Operation ASHA is one of hundreds of organizations Qualcomm has partnered with through Wireless Reach over the last 15 years. The projects, focused on healthcare access, education, public safety, clean water, the environment and other 21st-century priorities, have impacted some 20 individuals in nearly 50 countries. In Morocco, for example, a mobile ultrasound monitoring unit has been credited with a significant decrease in prenatal deaths among pregnant women in rural areas. And in South Africa, Qualcomm has joined forces with local NGOs to leverage mobile broadband technologies to empower HIV-exposed and -infected children and adolescents to overcome societal and structural barriers that prevent them from receiving testing, education and treatment.

The Qualcomm brand is based on a commitment, articulated on its website, to “deliver significant value across multiple industries and to billions of people every day.” What especially impresses Carpenter Group is Qualcomm’s recognition that many of those billions are far removed from the centers of power, commerce and affluence—individuals and families in developing countries who will never be customers or shareholders, but whose aspirations and well-being are no less central to its mission.

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About Brand Acts of Kindness® 

Brand Acts of Kindness® is a series from Carpenter Group that spotlights companies across industries that are living their brand values in addressing the unprecedented challenges facing the world today.

The series initially headlined companies assisting healthcare workers and first responders, as well as communities, businesses and families impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. We also highlight brands taking the lead in supporting social and racial justice, LGBTQ rights, sustainability and the environment. Their stories show how innovation, resolve and action, built on a solid value proposition, can both strengthen a brand and help create a better world.

About Carpenter Group

Carpenter Group is an independent, woman-owned strategic branding, messaging and marketing communications firm that has delivered results-driven solutions to financial, professional services and technology firms for 30+ years.

Our broad cross-discipline experience enables us to craft brand messaging and carry it through to the channels that most effectively connect with our clients’ target audience, from editorial content to advertising to event marketing and more.