The Affordable Health Technologies team focuses on bringing teams together from across the globe to focus on developing low cost solutions to today’s global healthcare challenges. With a background in medical device research and development, the team is focused on facilitating the evolution of healthcare technologies by assembling world leading teams of scientists and engineers from multiple disciplines in environments that empower imagination and teamwork.
One of the cornerstones of the World Health Organisation (WHO) is access to essential medicines and health technologies. Medical devices, assistive devices and eHealth solutions are important components of health technology, which have the potential to save lives and improve quality of life and well-being. However, most people in the ‘global south’ suffer due to lack of access to high quality, affordable health technology. This is a massive issue with significant impact on public health in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) including Colombia and Brazil, as the two largest countries in Latin America, where majority of medical devices/health technologies are being imported from the developed countries. This consequently leads to increased burden with increased costs and increasing trade deficits.
A WHO report on ‘Local Production and Technology Transfer to Increase Access to Medical Devices’ offers an overview of the current global medical device market, in which only 13% of manufacturers are located in LMICs. A landscape analysis on local production and technology transfer shows that local production potentially offers a cost-effective pathway to improving access to health care and medical devices. However, in settings where innovations are not economically viable, high costs of production may serve to hinder local innovation and development and, in turn, limit their ability to meet local health care needs. Therefore, there is a significant demand for universities and industries in LMICs to work towards affordable health technologies which are viable to develop, produce and use locally.