Innovation for Inclusive Growth – Addressing the challenge of improving healthcare access
The healthcare challenges of low and middle income countries are well known. Significant efforts are needed to reduce preventable mortality and meet the health-related Millennium Development Goals. As well as tackling communicable diseases, the burden of chronic disease is growing rapidly and some countries are beginning to experience the same ageing related issues as developed countries.
Poverty and limited resources clearly affect access to appropriate and affordable health technologies. The WHO has called for innovative technologies that address global health concerns and for the benefits of existing core health technologies to be made widely available. The challenge is for the research and business communities to develop or adapt innovative technologies to address global health concerns.
Our primary goal for this conference was to start discussions and bring to the fore opportunities and challenges in global healthcare innovation. Innovations will need to meet some key characteristics if they are to be successful and sustainable. Not only must they deliver world-class quality at an affordable price, but they must be scalable – able to meet needs in many different locations and circumstances. Some of innovations may involve the re-use of consumer products in new ‘disruptive’ ways. In this way they extend access to healthcare to a population that was previously underserved or ignored. For the UK, there are potentially important lessons from such innovations for cost of delivery, ease of access and reduced burden on existing infrastructure.
Attended by over 100 delegates from across the healthcare sector, we were privileged to have Lord Nigel Crisp; Paul Thompson; Professor Ajit Lalvani; Professor James Barlow; Professor Dame Sandra Dawson; Professor Rifat Atun; Henry Feldman, Alan Fenwick and Nigel Edwards attend this event and also share their views on the global healthcare innovation challenge.