According to the World Health Organisation’s 2014 report, nearly 800 women die every day due to complications in pregnancy and childbirth.
Save the Children’s recent report on women’s maternal health pegs the number of women at a lifetime risk at a staggering one out of 170. India ranks an abysmal 140 on the index of 179 countries, an index researchers compiled using data from UN agencies to show where mothers and children fare best and where they face the greatest hardships.
However this situation is easily averted using the combined power of technology, innovation and healthcare to provide a solution for major problems in the world especially in the middle and lower income countries. CAMTech (Consortium For Affordable Medical Technologies) is using this combined power of technology and healthcare to bring together radically different professional and academic groups from around the world to focus on specific unmet clinical needs. Their mantra is to create an ecosystem of co-creation, improvisation and innovation, especially in the development of low-cost technologies that have the potential to solve some of the world’s most pressing health challenges.
The mission of CAMTech India is to support the development and implementation of innovative solutions (technological, process and/or business model innovation) that can improve Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (RMNCH) in India. The aim is to address preventable causes of death among women and children in India. Their audience includes a diverse range of clinicians, entrepreneurs, engineers and business experts.
CAMTech mission for India is being driven through various programs, like the India Clinical Summit, a Medical Technology Hack-a-thon and the Innovation Awards.
The Clinical Summit aims to identify pressing clinical needs and best practices in RMNCH care. It brings together physicians, nurses, healthcare workers, government and public health experts across India . The aim is to drive affordable medical technology innovation, including a ‘Technology Showcase’ to preview early-stage and newly marketed technologies that have the potential to improve healthcare for women and children in India.
A Medical Technology ‘Hack-a-thon’ often follows the Clinical Summit. It is a 48-hour event, where cross-disciplinary teams collaborate to provide solutions for unsolved RMNCH clinical problems.
Last year’s Jugaad-a-thon saw three top innovations- Baby Steps for developing a unique and integrated mobile app for early diagnosis of developmental delays in children across India, Pec Dia for developing a solution to diagnose Cephalopelvic Disproportion (CPD) in pregnancies after 37 weeks by any healthcare worker and Pregmatic for the development of an affordable wearable device that reminds pregnant women about key milestones in pregnancy when they must see a medical professional.
CAMTech’s Innovation Awards draws on the broad pipeline of RMNCH technologies in India and provides seed funding to maximize clinical impact, technical feasibility and commercial viability. In addition, the Accelerator Program provides ongoing mentorship to entrepreneurs to remove barriers for successfully deploying new technologies into clinical environments.
As a public-private partnership, CAMTech INDIA has been supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID/India), the Omidyar Network, the Bacca Foundation and a number of large multinational corporations. Its Indian program draws on the expertise of many local partners, including Lattice Innovations, a medical device discovery, design and manufacturing team that serves as CAMTech India’s implementation partner for Clinical Summits and Hack-a-thons.
Other key partners include InnAccel, the Public Health Foundation of India, the Lata Medical Research Foundation, Narayana Health, FICCI, National Health Systems Resource Center and Vellore Institute of Technology in India.
Part of this is also MIT’s H@cking Medicine and Harvard Medical School in the US; and Mbarara University of Science and Technology in Uganda.
The core team is based at Massachusetts General Hospital’s Center for Global Health in Boston, Massachusetts in the US.
The CAMTech team has representation from all disciplines it serves, be it medicine, public health business or engineering. The team also includes several members in Mbarara, Uganda, who lead the CAMTech Uganda program and initiatives.
The Online Innovation Platform
This year India will see two Jugaad-a-thons, first in Bangalore with a corresponding clinical summit in June and the other one to drive diabetes prevention, diagnosis and treatment in India in October, in Hyderabad.
To bring together global health innovators together they launch their new Online Innovation Platform in mid-June. The platform will not only connect extensive global network of experts across public health, medicine, technology, design and business but also pitch to investors and industry partners for funding and licensing opportunities.
It will also try and establish key partnerships to accelerate clinical trial and regulatory process and access critical resources needed to further product development.