In his publication, Malkin walks us through the challenges of introducing a new healthcare technology in the developing world. He explains that even in the most ideal of conditions, for instance entering a large market with an innovative and viable solution, obstacles concerning manufacturing and distribution of the technology can prevent any further progress. As there is little research being conducted on this issue, Malkin’s discussion comes at an opportune time, and his recommendations are especially useful when implementation becomes a priority.
Social entrepreneurs have numerous considerations to make when introducing healthcare technology to the developing world. While social entrepreneurs encounter traditional issues, including logistics, staffing, and financial problems, unexpected complexities of developing world healthcare systems create obstacles as well. Furthermore, while choosing the correct manufacturing and diffusion method is of utmost importance, the advantages and disadvantages of the large variety of options may overwhelm the social entrepreneur. For example, while informal, local manufacturing is typically the largest manufacturing sector in many developing countries, quality control and the difficulty of scaling a business plan based on local manufacturing make it a less viable option.
Capturing these difficulties, Malkin concludes his paper by saying, “The adventure is about to begin.” Though quite true, as there are many barriers to introducing novel healthcare technologies, with enough time and energy healthcare innovations in the developing world can greatly impact the lives of millions of people.
If you are considering looking further into this research, here are a few important questions that are addressed in the paper:
- What are the different types of sectors in health care delivery in the developing world?
- What are the different options to consider in manufacturing the device?
- What are the benefits of a contract manufacturer?
- What are the different routes to diffusion of novel healthcare technologies in the developing world?
- How should I properly engage a local distributor?
- Why are direct import donations not as beneficial as they may seem?
- What is an MRSO (medical surplus recovery organization)?
- How do I license my IP?
Contributed by Keerthighaan Kanagasegar, (Duke BME, '14)