[SE07-HUM_b] Medical Technology and Innovation for Sustainable Impact in Global Health

DAY 2 – Tuesday 3 May – 14:00-15:30
Swiss Tech | Room 2C | Level Garden

Session Leader | Summary | Panelists and Abstracts


Session Leader

Solomzi Makohliso
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]


Leticia Fernandez-Carballo, Universitat Ramón Lllull, Spain, Paper Dipsticks for Disease Diagnosis Produced with Domestic Inkjet Printers


Aikaterini Mantzavinou & Bryan Ranger, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, United States, Health Hackathons Drive Affordable Medical Technology Innovation Through Community Engagement [PDF Full Paper]


Mathieu Sarracanie, Harvard Medical School, United States, Low-cost High-performance Low field MRI [invited speaker] [PDF Extended Abstract]