Innovative Technologies that Address Global Health Concerns…

There was a recent call by the World Health Organization for innovative technologies that address global health concerns. The enteries were reviewed by an expert panel and narrowed down to a handful that met the criteria for the call. Applicants were graded on the type of device, health concern, developmental stage, whether or not the product can be commercialized, the purpose of the technology, where it can be used (i.e. users or health centers) and the list continues…

All of the following address major health concerns, yet I believe it would have been great to see technologies that address the issue of clean water, containment of TB from becoming drug resistant, and even remote disease management (aside from SMS to prevent smoking).
My personal favorites include: the isothermal nucleic acid amplification system for TB diagnosis, the decision support system for paediatrics HIV and the transcutanous  anaemia monitoring system.

enjoy!


Selected technology category 1: commercialized/-isable stage

1.1 Stool sample collection and preparation kit
The intended purpose* of the stool sample collection and preparation kit is to simplify faecal examination by reducing the number of consumables and steps required for the procedure. The kit could therefore facilitate the diagnosis of parasitological diseases. Additionally, the kit does not appear to require water or electricity, and is claimed to prevent recontamination of the environment.

1.2 LED phototherapy unit
The intended purpose* of the LED phototherapy unit is to treat hyperbilirubinaemia in newborn infants by phototherapy. The unit could increase the safety of the procedure by using a radiation source that produces blue light and minimizes the exposure to harmful ultraviolet radiation. Further potential advantages are that the unit measures the actual output of light at the useful wavelengths and is claimed to have lower energy consumption than previous designs.

1.3 System for on-site production of wound irrigation solution
The intended purpose* of the system for on-site production of wound irrigation solution is to produce aqueous solutions for the topical treatment of wounds and infections using a power source, demineralised water and salt. Solutions produced by the system could be used to treat a host of conditions including traumatic injuries, post-natal infections and neglected tropical diseases that cause ulcerations and infections.

her potential advantages are that the unit measures the actual output of light at the useful wavelengths and is claimed to have lower energy consumption than previous designs.

1.4 SMS smoking cessation system
The intended purpose* of the SMS smoking cessation system is to provide tailored SMS-based smoking cessation support to its users. According to preliminary research submitted, the system facilitates self-management of smoking cessation and increases the likelihood of user adherence to smoking cessation programs. The interactive system claims to be capable of answering messages about craving to support the user.

1.5 Reusable neonatal suction system
The intended purpose* of the reusable neonatal suction system is to remove obstructive mucus from the air passages in newborn infants to reduce the risk of asphyxia and to support neonatal resuscitation. The device is claimed to be reusable and capable of being cleaned and boiled between uses. The device is claimed to be made of durable silicone and not to require electric power.

1.6 Fluorescence visualization system for cancer screening
The intended purpose* of the fluorescence visualization system for cancer screening is to use the natural fluorescence of mucosal tissues when excited by a violet/blue light, to inform clinicians about the presence of abnormalities in the mucosa in the oral cavity. This system could aid in the early detection of oral/oropharyngeal cancers and thereby reduce morbidity and mortality associated with these diseases.

1.7 Transcutaneous bilirubin measurement system
The intended purpose* of the transcutaneous bilirubin measurement system is to provide an alternative to blood sample analysis for the diagnosis of hyperbilirubinaemia in newborn infants. The system uses spectral analysis of light reflected from the patient’s vascular bed to determine levels of bilirubin in the blood. The device is claimed to be non-invasive and to rapidly give a read-out.

1.8 Isothermal nucleic acid amplification system for tuberculosis diagnosis
The intended purpose* of the isothermal nucleic acid amplification system for tuberculosis diagnosis is to offer a point-of-care alternative to sputum smear microscopy for the diagnosis of tuberculosis. The technology is claimed not to require any additional equipment and to yield a rapid visual read out of the diagnostic result.

Selected technolgies category 2: non-commercialized/-isable stage

2.1 Simplified anaesthesia unit
The intended purpose* of the simplified anaesthesia unit is to function as an anaesthesia machine for surgical use in low resources settings. The device features an innovative valve system with reduced technical complexity compared to traditional devices. The device is claimed to function with oxygen from different sources, including ambient air and therefore would not require compressed oxygen.

2.2 Single use assistive vaginal delivery system
The intended purpose* of the single use assistive vaginal delivery system is to assist fetus extraction in cases of prolonged second stages of labour without having to use forceps, to use a vacuum extractor or to resort to caesarean sectioning. The lack of rigid instruments in the system is claimed to reduce the risk of injury to both mother and child.

2.3 Portable on site cell sorter and counter for HIV and malaria diagnosis
The intended purpose* of the portable on site cell sorter and counter for HIV and malaria diagnosis, a lab-on-a-chip device, is to monitor AIDS in HIV-infected people as well as blood cell alterations indicating malaria. The system appears to be a small and portable device that would allow for rapid automated screening of a blood sample for indicators of AIDS and/or malaria.

2.4 Decision support system for paediatrics HIV
The intended purpose* of the decision support system for paediatrics HIV is to move away from paper-based medical records while ensuring easy and reliable access to patient-centred information. This electronic health records system is targeted at paediatric HIV cases and is intended to aid clinical decision-making processes such as weight-based dosing support for antiretroviral drugs.

2.5 Transcutaneous anaemia monitoring system
The intended purpose* of the transcutaneous anaemia monitoring system is to screen populations for insufficient levels of haemoglobin in the blood and to carry out diagnosis of severe anaemia. The system is claimed to be based on spectrophotometric analysis. The device appears to be portable, non-invasive and is claimed to give a read-out in less than a minute.

2.6 Solar-powered autoclave
The intended purpose* of the solar-powered autoclave, is to sterilize medical instruments. It is claimed to run solely on solar power. This technology could allow sterilization of medical instruments in remote rural areas with no access to electricity and hence reduce the risk of infections associated with carrying out medical interventions with dirty equipment.

2.7 Portable infant warmer
The intended purpose* of the portable infant warmer is to improve the care of premature and low-birth-weight babies by providing heat at a constant temperature in order to prevent hypothermia. This portable device is claimed not to require electricity and would allow for close mother-to-baby contact. The product is targeted for use in urban and rural healthcare settings, and in home settings.

| if I knew all the words I would write myself out of here. |

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