South Africa Country Program

Global Health Innovation Accelerator (GHIA)

PATH aims to drive transformative technologies to improve the health of women and children in South Africa and beyond by developing South Africa as a regional health innovation hub. The hub will:

  • Strengthen local product development throughput via human resource mentorship and capacity development.
  • Create a robust South African product manufacturing pipeline.
  • Advance evidence-based technology incubation, innovations and accelerate transnational research.

The initiative

GHAI launch (Photo: SAMRC)

GHAI launch (Photo: SAMRC)

PATH has joined forces with the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) to accelerate access to the most promising technology innovations to better serve the health needs of resource-limited communities. GHIA will accomplish this by increasing the capacity of technology developers, manufacturers, distributors, and delivery platforms in South Africa through enabling partnerships that bring the relevant expertise, funding and networks required for innovation, scale and impact.

The MRC-PATH Global Health Accelerator (GHIA), launched in August 2014 to coincide with National Women’s Day and housed at MRC’s headquarters in Cape Town, will initially focus on advancing health medical devices, diagnostics, and health tools for the most vulnerable women and children.

Core functions of the GHIA

The GHIA provides a centralized, South Africa-based hub that will align resources and priorities to increase access to those health technologies most needed in the health system. The core functions of the GHIA are to:

  • Identify health care needs (mainly at primary care level) for which health technology solutions could have the most impact.
  • Rigorously screen and evaluate technologies to identify the most promising technologies to take forward.
  • Provide enabling partnership support (technical assistance, funding, and networks) to local innovators and entrepreneurs.
  • Strengthen the capacity of local commercialization partners to own and sustainably deliver lifesaving products.

Key activities

Initially, the GHIA team will choose and advance a small portfolio of critically needed maternal and child health technologies designed for use in low-resource settings and introduce them into the South African health system. These tools include a noninvasive anemia screening device, affordable uterine balloon tamponade for the management and treatment of postpartum hemorrhage, and low-cost pasteurizer for enabling human milk banking in community facilities.

As part of this focus, GHIA will also advance several affordable and effective point-of-care tools to diagnose HIV and tuberculosis infection. Because these and other products are likely to meet urgent health needs in other countries, the GHIA will also focus on supporting the adoption of successful innovations into other health systems in the region and potentially the continent.

In the future, the GHIA will draw on experiences and relationships gained through these activities to identify additional health priorities and advance technologies to meet these needs.

Read the GHIA fact sheet