HealthTech: Technologies for Health
Advancing technology solutions for priority developing-world health issues for more than 25 years
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and PATH signed the first HealthTech cooperative agreement in 1987 with the idea that technologies tailored for use in low-resource settings could improve the health of families around the world.
Charged with accelerating reductions in mortality and morbidity in line with USAID health-sector objectives by identifying and advancing technology solutions for priority developing-world health issues, the HealthTech program has supported early proof of concept and feasibility evaluations as well as later-stage steps to get affordable, appropriate products to market.
HealthTech bridges the gap between public and private sectors and forges collaborations that benefit both—resulting in innovative technologies made for people in low-resource settings.
The program has worked in nearly all health areas including maternal and child health, family planning and reproductive health, as well as HIV/AIDS, water supply and sanitation, nutrition, infectious diseases, and crosscutting point-of-care diagnostics and health management information systems. HealthTech draws upon PATH staff members with a broad range of skills and expertise including product designers, engineers, scientists, health practitioners, health economists, and marketing and business specialists.
HealthTech has leveraged opportunities for collaboration and co-investment with stakeholders such as the World Health Organization, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Population Fund, and individual donors. Importantly, we provide commercialization partners with valuable incentives to participate in developing-world public health markets.
Examples of the global impact of technologies advanced under the HealthTech program include:
• 86 million HIV dipstick diagnostic tests have been purchased since 1993. PATH was an early developer of a rapid, low-cost test for HIV. We transferred the technology to manufacturers in India, catalyzing the market for affordable tests and resulting in more accessible HIV testing throughout the developing world.
• 185 million immunochromatographic strip tests for Plasmodium falciparum malaria—originally developed under HealthTech—have been used in clinics and hospitals in the developing world to provide same-day test results. PATH is now applying strip test technology to develop diagnostics for neglected tropical diseases like Chagas and river blindness.
• 5 billion vaccine vial monitors (VVMs) have been applied to vials of vaccines. Beginning in 2001, all vaccines distributed by UNICEF have used a VVM advanced under HealthTech to monitor damaging heat exposure. Over the next decade, PATH estimates VVMs will allow health workers to more effectively deliver an additional 1.5 billion vaccine doses in remote settings.
• 6.7 billion vaccinations have been delivered using SoloShot™* syringes in developing countries since 1990. SoloShot, developed under HealthTech, was the first commercially available autodisable syringe and catalyzed a global policy shift in safe injection.
The HealthTech V cooperative agreement (# AID-OAA-A-11-00051) is currently underway. To learn more about our HealthTech projects, additional information is available on our HealthTech documents and publications page.