30 Innovations That Could Transform Global Health: Introducing the Innovation Countdown 2030 Report

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PATH leads global initiative to crowdsource and assess innovations with the potential to save millions of lives by 2030

The PATH-led Innovation Countdown 2030 initiative (IC2030) today launched its inaugural report, Reimagining Global Health, at the Third International Conference on Financing for Development. The report features 30 innovations selected by international experts for their lifesaving potential and can be downloaded at http://www.ic2030.org.

2015 marks a seminal moment in global health as world leaders coalesce around new global goals that will determine the international development agenda and health investments over the next 15 years. Innovative technologies and approaches that make health care more affordable, more effective, and easier to access are key to reaching the new health goals by 2030.

Reimagining Global Health is the result of a yearlong process to identify, evaluate, and showcase some of those high-potential health technologies and ideas, with the goal of catalyzing investment and support.

Two innovations found to have exceptional potential are a simple, low-cost antiseptic to prevent newborn infections and new technologies for small-scale water treatment at the community level. These two innovations alone, with expanded use, could save the lives of 2.5 million newborns and children by 2030.

Tapping innovation around the world

PATH sought ideas from experts, innovators, and technology developers worldwide, crowdsourcing solutions with great promise to accelerate progress toward reaching the 2030 health targets.

People in nearly 50 countries nominated more than 500 innovations for consideration. Dozens of independent health experts then assessed and ranked them, selecting the 30 innovations featured in the report.

“Innovation is the essential ingredient in empowering communities with solutions they can use to transform their own health,” said Steve Davis, PATH President and CEO. “To achieve the 2030 health targets, we must focus our brightest minds, collective resources, and shared aspirations on accelerating innovations with the most potential for impact.”

“World leaders are coming together in 2015 around new global goals that can ensure good health and equal opportunity for all. By prioritizing and coordinating investments in innovations that can deliver the greatest health value for money, we can create financially sustainable solutions that reach the millions of people who have yet to share in the gains of our progress,” said Mr. Borge Brende, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Norway.

The initiative is supported by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the US Agency for International Development.

Innovations to tackle the world’s most urgent health issues

The 30 selected innovations cover four health areas:

  • Maternal, newborn, and child health, an area featuring innovations such as a uterine balloon tamponade to manage excessive bleeding after childbirth, the leading cause of maternal death; portable devices that measure oxygen levels in the blood to improve detection of pneumonia, the top killer of young children; and new treatments for severe diarrhea, another major cause of child deaths.
  • Infectious diseases, where key innovations include malaria vaccine candidates, long-acting injectable drugs to treat HIV infection, and a novel multidrug treatment regimen to shorten the treatment for tuberculosis.
  • Reproductive health, where new injectable contraceptives and expanded access to long-acting, reversible contraceptives such as intrauterine devices may have great impact.
  • Noncommunicable diseases, where potentially transformative innovations include the use of a low-cost polypill to prevent cardiovascular disease and the use of mobile devices for chronic disease prevention and management.

“IC2030 identifies health solutions that have the potential to make a catalytic impact in global health over the next 15 years,” said Chris Elias, President of Global Development, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “By finding and amplifying promising ideas and strengthening the capacity of low-resource countries to develop, introduce, and share innovation, we can accelerate progress so that every person has an equal chance for a healthy and productive life.”

Leading experts on health innovation

The report also includes commentaries by leading health, business, and technology experts on the essential role of innovation in driving health impact.

Amie Batson, PATH’s Chief Strategy Officer, highlights four key strategies to accelerate health innovation: sourcing health solutions globally, identifying innovations that deliver the greatest value for the money, developing new financing mechanisms, and coordinating investments.

Other authors featured in the report include Mark Dybul of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; Flavia Bustreo of the World Health Organization; Christopher Murray of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation; Navi Radjou, author of Frugal Innovation; and Lawrence Summers, former US Treasury Secretary.

Measuring health impact

A key feature of IC2030 is the health and cost impact modeling process PATH developed with its partner, Applied Strategies, to measure lives saved, cases of disease averted, and costs for health innovations.

The data provide new insights into how to prioritize global health investments for the greatest impact. For example, the modeling identified two innovations with especially high potential for saving lives:

  • Community-level water treatment tools to prevent diarrheal disease would save an estimated 1.5 million children by 2030, with a predicted savings of $1.2 billion by reducing diarrhea incidence and treatment costs.
  • Scaled-up use of a low-cost antiseptic called chlorhexidine to prevent newborn infections would save an estimated 1 million newborns by 2030 at an estimated cost of $81 million.

“As countries begin to experience an economic transition of health, many will increasingly be able to afford basic services to bring an end to preventable child and maternal deaths—yet many others will not," said Dr. Ariel Pablos-Mendez, Child and Maternal Survival Coordinator and Assistant Administrator for Global Health of the US Agency for International Development. “Innovations in technology and management will be essential to reach our ambitious targets by 2030.”

Next steps

PATH aims to continue IC2030, building on this platform to give greater voice to innovators from around the world, to engage experts from across sectors and disciplines, and to raise awareness and visibility of transformative innovations to influence decision-making and investment.

To learn more about IC2030 and to download the report, please visit: http://www.ic2030.org.

PATH

PATH is the leader in global health innovation. An international nonprofit organization, PATH saves lives and improves health, especially among women and children. PATH accelerates innovation across five platforms—vaccines, drugs, diagnostics, devices, and system and service innovations—that harness our entrepreneurial insight, scientific and public health expertise, and passion for health equity. By mobilizing partners around the world, PATH takes innovation to scale, working alongside countries primarily in Africa and Asia to tackle their greatest health needs. With these key partners, PATH delivers measurable results that disrupt the cycle of poor health. Learn more at http://www.path.org.

Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation

The Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad) was established in 1962 and is part of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Its main objectives are to make Norwegian development aid as effective as possible, to ensure that funds are spent in the best possible way, and to report on what is and is not successful. Norad provides expert advice about development and aid to the Foreign Service and works together with a range of other players in development assistance. In 2012, Norad managed 12 percent of the NOK28 billion that Norway provided in development assistance. Learn more at http://www.norad.no/en/front.

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people’s health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people—especially those with the fewest resources—have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. Based in Seattle, Washington, the foundation is led by CEO Sue Desmond-Hellmann and Cochair William H. Gates Sr., under the direction of Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett.

US Agency for International Development

The US Agency for International Development (USAID) is leading the US government’s efforts to end extreme poverty and promote resilient, democratic societies. USAID has been the leading donor in international family planning for more than 50 years—both in terms of financial resources, advancing the development of safe, effective, and acceptable contraceptives and multipurpose prevention technologies designed specifically for provision and use in low-resource settings, and supporting program innovation, implementation, and evaluation.

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Kate Davidson
PATH
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