DAY 2 – Tuesday 3 May – 14:00-15:30
Swiss Tech | Room 2C | Level Garden
Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland
Solomzi Makohliso is a member of the the EssentialTech Program at EPFL. He is an international entrepreneur with biotechnology industry experience from the United States, Europe, and South Africa. He was also the founder and CEO of Ayanda Biosystems in Switzerland, and a Resident Entrepreneur at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in Pretoria, South Africa. He currently serves on the Swiss National Steering Committee for Bilateral Cooperation in Science & Technology with Africa. Previously, he served as a member of the Biotechnology Advisory Panel for the national Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) in South Africa and was a Member of the Nanotechnology Advisory Board in South Africa. He holds a PhD in Biomaterials from EPFL.
Many important medical devices, such as X-ray diagnostic imaging systems and neonatal incubators, which are essential to primary healthcare, are still not available in much of the developing world. Moreover, even when such medical devices might be available, they are often dysfunctional and not correctly utilized, thereby diminishing and/or eliminating their intended benefit and impact.
The context of healthcare delivery in developing countries is characterized by scarcity in three main areas: in financial resources, in quality infrastructure and in trained personnel. These unique features warrant a complete or significant rethink/redesign of technology solutions and business models, so as to better fit the needs, and is a necessary condition for successful large scale and sustainable deployment. However, a complete redesign/rethinking of technology and business models typically requires high financial investments, a factor that discourages companies and investors as they still perceive these “markets” as financially unattractive and too risky. Risk is inherent to entrepreneurship, but this risk is perceived as even higher in developing markets because there are few prior established benchmarks.
This session will hear from players operating in these markets how the different risks were/are mitigated, using examples of innovations that are in the process of development, deployment and/or in the scale-up phase. Participants in the session will help extract lessons about good strategies and best practice for maximizing the chances of successfully transforming a new technology to the private sector and sustainably scaling it up, thereby maximizing positive impact on global health.
Patrick Petignat, Hôpitaux Universitaires de Genève (HUG), Switzerland, Why Physicians Need Greater Collaboration from Technology Players to Improve Health Outcomes in LMIC [invited speaker]
Cervical cancer is the main cause of women cancer death in sub-Saharan countries because of the absence of screening. The main obstacles inherent to these countries are lack of healthcare infrastructures and trained practitioners. With the availability of new technologies, researchers have attempted to find new strategies that are adapted to this context. The aim of the lecture will be to present how technology can to promote early diagnosis of cervical cancer.
Leticia Fernandez-Carballo, Universitat Ramón Lllull, Spain, Paper Dipsticks for Disease Diagnosis Produced with Domestic Inkjet Printers
Medical devices play a key role for the success of health care interventions. Most medical devices are fabricated and designed to be used in developed countries. In developing countries, those medical devices are often inappropriate and difficult to use and end up malfunctioning or broken due to lack of maintenance know-how and/or in-country spare parts and supplies. It is worldwide accepted that medical devices should be adapted to the environment and needs of the countries of intended use. Most of these issues could be solved by enabling developing nations to design and manufacture their own medical devices. In this context, we present a medical device that can be easily manufactured in limited resources laboratories: paper diagnostic dipsticks to detect biomarkers present in biological fluids produced with domestic inkjet printers and simple ink preparation recipes. This fabrication technique for diagnostic strips was tested for the detection of iodine deficiency, a severe global health problem worldwide. We herein present successful experiments for chemical inks preparation, printing in paper and detection of iodine in the concentrations present in the urine. This simple and versatile manufacturing process for diagnostic tests would allow hospitals and laboratories with limited infrastructure to design diagnostics for relevant diseases in a format and quantity adapted to each community needs.
Aikaterini Mantzavinou & Bryan Ranger, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, United States, Health Hackathons Drive Affordable Medical Technology Innovation Through Community Engagement [PDF Full Paper]
Health hackathons are multidisciplinary events bringing together diverse healthcare stakeholders to solve key health challenges through a process of co-creation. Health hackathons have gained significant traction as sources of medical innovation globally. They carry particular significance for addressing health discrepancies in resource- limited settings, where there is dire need for cost-effective medical technologies that can deliver high-quality health in an affordable and sustainable way. This paper discusses the model of MIT Hacking Medicine’s health hackathons, and its application to hackathons in India and Uganda for medical innovation by the Consortium for Affordable Medical Technologies (CAMTech) of the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Center for Global Health. The CAMTech health hackathons in resource-limited settings engage the local communities, innovators, and stakeholders in medical innovation, resulting in breakthrough projects that address urgent needs and hold promise for further development after the end of the hackathon. Case studies of successful projects coming out of these hackathons are discussed to illustrate the potential of such innovations for real-world impact and sustainable growth in frontier markets. Examples of the tools developed to support further project development after the end of the hackathon and to keep track of project progress and impact are presented. The hacking philosophy pioneered by MIT Hacking Medicine is taken one step further with the establishment of CAMTech Co-Creation Labs on the ground in India and Uganda and the CAMTech Innovation Platform. The CAMTech Co-Creation Labs and Innovation Platform form long-lasting international partnerships that seek to reinvent healthcare in low- and middle-income countries and offer promise for cost-effective medical solutions in both resource-limited and resource-rich settings.
Mathieu Sarracanie, Harvard Medical School, United States, Low-cost High-performance Low field MRI [invited speaker] [PDF Extended Abstract]
Envisioning the healthcare technology of tomorrow requires one to break from the mainstream and explore alternative approaches to develop accessible, ubiquitous diagnostic tools. In the field of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), despite considerable improvements in imaging quality and speed, the underlying technology remains remarkably unchanged compared to the first generation scanners that emerged on the market 30 years ago. Undeniably, one of the next revolutions in health care is cost-effectiveness. Using only simple and robust hardware technologies and state-of-the-art acquisition and processing strategies, low-cost scanners could democratize MRI, moving it away from demanding siting requirements and colossal costs, and opening up a wide range of unprecedented new applications. We believe our work will enable the realization of an inexpensive portable MRI system for use in a variety of situations where MRI systems are not traditionally available such as resource-poor environments, emergency responses, and remote regions. At 6.5 mT (more than 450 times lower than clinical MRI scanners), our group has demonstrated (2.5×3.5×8.5) mm3 imaging resolution in the living human brain using a simple, open-geometry electromagnet, with 3D image acquisition over the entire brain in 6 minutes. Without pre-polarization or cryogenic SQUID detection, we have developed the fastest 3D MRI of the living human brain to date in the very low-field regime.