Global Health: Conversations On Innovation Adoption

19Feb10

Public global health lecture with Dr. Tachi Yamada (Gates Foundation) and Dr. Chris Elias (CEO PATH): Summary of key thoughts and themes –

The conversation started with a comparison between India and its neighbour, Bangladesh on maternal and child mortality rates:

India Bangladesh
Baby deaths 90/1000 60/1000
Maternal deaths 500/1000 350/1000

Bangladesh is not as wealthy as its neighbour, has less employed doctors per capita and has less government spending on healthcare both in absolute terms and per capita, but it has BETTER health outcome statistics. How? Why?

Answer: Healthcare is not only about dollars spent, but also about INNOVATION: technology uptake and introduction

Bangladesh has adopted an army of civil service organizations (think Yunus and Grameen bank who pioneered microfinancing, BRAC) and NGOs. They are allowed to implement innovative way of helping the poor and allowed to thrive under strong political will.

India has been slower in embracing these civil service organizations and has high political turnover. However, new business models have thrived to serve the base of its pyramid – such as Aravind Eye hospitals pioneering innovations in cataracts lenses. Lesson: Just because a country is poor, should not deprive them of technology.

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