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Surgo Ventures
We use all the tools available from behavioral science, data science, and artificial intelligence to unlock solutions that will save and improve people’s lives.

Factors linked to mental health deterioration include personality, worries about catching COVID-19, susceptibility to conspiracy theories, and level of online/social media interaction

Photo by Külli Kittus / Unsplash

With more than 50 million vaccine doses administered, the UK vaccination program is helping the nation make progress against COVID-19. At the same time, researchers have identified COVID-19’s impact on mental health as a persistent problem that may outlast the current pandemic.

  • 55% of people reported feeling worse in their mental health compared…


Surgo Ventures Projects Vaccination Rates will Plateau in April— Before We Reach Herd Immunity

Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash

Our efforts to improve COVID-19 vaccine uptake in the United States are about to get a lot harder, soon.


Photo Credit: Awwal Bissala/Nigeria

After much anticipation, the first COVID-19 vaccines are being rolled out worldwide. However, high-income countries have secured most of the supply for themselves, while many low- and middle-income countries are reliant on an initiative called COVAX. Though the first COVAX supplies have arrived, they are only expected to cover 20% of the population in most countries by the end of 2021. As a result, parts of Africa, South America and Asia will likely not be fully vaccinated from the coronavirus until 2023. …


Stories of community vulnerability include a single mother in Texas with dirty drinking water, a father in the Mississippi Delta delivering food to hungry neighbors, and more

Just after the first anniversary of COVID-19 being declared a pandemic, we released a collection of 12 short films that show how the pandemic has wreaked havoc on vulnerable communities across the United States.


The United States is racing against time to vaccinate a majority of the population, while also dealing with supply- and demand-related barriers that can jeopardize any phase of the vaccine rollout. That’s why today, we launched a new data tool, the U.S. COVID-19 Vaccine Coverage Index (CVAC), to provide health officials and policymakers the precise, county-level data they will need to identify which communities are at risk of low COVID-19 vaccine coverage and why, based on underlying community characteristics.

The new index assesses every county in the United States — geographically and demographically — to identify the barriers to getting…


Photo: World Bank Photo Collection

South Africa is currently grappling with a painful second wave of COVID-19, heightened by the discovery of a highly contagious variant in December. As we attempt to assess the distribution of this burden in South Africa, we must consider how reported COVID-19 statistics — total cases and deaths — likely underestimate the true impact of the virus due to limited continent-wide testing. As a result, we should base our analysis of the pandemic in South Africa on alternative measures, such as excess deaths.


The “watchful,” the “cost-anxious,” and the “system distrusters” are all types of people that can be persuaded with the right approaches

We encourage those working to increase COVID-19 vaccine uptake in their communities to take a page from the behavioral science and marketing playbook: Prioritize those Americans who are persuadable (43% of the U.S. population) by dividing them into psychobehavioral segments and focusing on the specific barriers those three segments — The “Watchful,” (20%), The “Cost-Anxious,” (14%), and The “System Distrusters” (9%) — perceive to getting vaccinated.


Simply put, communities across America are not all equally vulnerable to the effects of the pandemic. Certain factors — such as socioeconomic status, ethnicity, work environments, and healthcare systems — make some communities more vulnerable to COVID-19’s impact, and in differing ways.

23% more likely to be diagnosed with COVID-19

32% more likely to have died from COVID-19

29% less likely to be tested for COVID-19

35% more likely to be unemployed

Yet leaders at national, state, and local levels…


A Chatbot Delivers Health Information Directly to Couples

A farmer in Vidisha, Madhya Pradesh, India, had little interest or knowledge of family planning. That is until he started using askNivi, a sexual and reproductive health (SRH) chatbot on WhatsApp. “I started using condoms after reading information on askNivi,” he told our team, “It gave me all the correct information. It changed my point of view.”


In the absence of reliable data on the effects of the pandemic, the Africa COVID-19 Community Vulnerability Index can inform a targeted pandemic response

Accra, Ghana (Source: Unsplash)

On January 17, Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo issued a sober warning to his country: “Our COVID-19 treatment centres have gone from having zero patients to now being full because of the upsurge in infections. At this current rate … our healthcare infrastructure will be overwhelmed.”

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