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Health Innovation Networks to Help Developing Countries Address Neglected Diseases

Morel, Carlos and Broun, Denis and Dangi, Ajit and Elias, Christopher and Gardner, Charles and Gupta, RK and Haycock, Jane and Heher, Tony Heher and Hotez, Peter Hotez and Juma, Calestous and Kettler, Hannah and Krattiger, Anatole and Kreutz, Fernando and Lee, Keun and al., et (2005): Health Innovation Networks to Help Developing Countries Address Neglected Diseases. Published in: Science , Vol. 309, No. July (July 2005): pp. 401-403.

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Abstract

There is a great unmet need for health technologies to address diseases of the poor in developing countries. At the same time, there is a rapidly growing capability to undertake health innovation in many developing countries (Innovative Developing Countries - IDCs). The more advanced IDCs have the greatest capacity to develop, manufacture, ensure safety, and market new health products and to develop, test and introduce new health policies or strategies. They are distinguished by their rapidly growing strength in health innovation as illustrated by increasing patenting and publishing activities; increasing investments in technology by both the public and private research based sectors; rapidly growing number of health technology companies ; and proactive health systems able to analyze, evaluate and adopt new practices and technologies.

This innovation capability provides a currently underleveraged opportunity to accelerate the development of new products, policies or strategies for diseases of the poor. We are therefore calling for the formation of an Initiative for Health Product Innovation in Developing Countries. Its primary mission will be to accelerate the translation of new knowledge into health innovations relevant to the diseases of the poor and to economic growth, taking into account national priorities and sensitivities. The Initiative could promote innovation, within and among IDCs, through programs to: (i) support research on health innovation systems; (ii) promote collaboration and coordination among countries to develop, disseminate and implement good practices and policies; and (iii) implement demonstration projects.

Such an Initiative would help maximize existing and growing investments by developing countries in health research, and complement global efforts to address health disparities and achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

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