Connecting dots: delivering technologies to meet the Sustainable Development Goals

TDR news item
30 January 2017

The links between health research and development and the effective access and delivery of new health technologies in low- and middle-income countries were discussed Monday in Bangkok. Two panels of experts at a side event of the annual Prince Mahidol Award Conference were organized by TDR, UNDP, PATH and the government of Japan.

Credit: WHO/TDR/Olumide Ogundahunsi

The organizations are working together under The Access and Deliver Partnership (ADP) to help low- and middle-income countries strengthen national systems and processes to access and deliver new health technologies for tuberculosis, malaria and neglected tropical diseases. People in these countries are both disproportionally burdened by these diseases, and often excluded from access to appropriate diagnosis and treatment.

Dr Eiji Hinoshita, the Director of the Global Health Policy Division in the International Cooperation Bureau of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, told participants in his opening remarks, “Japan is pleased to be supporting the work of both the Global Health Innovative Technology Fund and the Access and Delivery Partnership. I am delighted that today’s event will give us important insight into how we will cooperate in the future phases of this partnership.”

Panelists included:

  • Hayato Urabe, Director, Investment Strategy and Management, Global Health Innovative Technology (GHIT) Fund
  • Solomon Nwaka, Executive Director, African Network for Drugs and Diagnostics Innovation (ANDI)
  • Jean-Michel Piedagnel, Head, Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative (DNDi) South-East Asia Regional Office
  • Kriang Tangsanga, Chair, Committee for the National Essential Drugs List, Thailand
  • Mandeep Dhaliwal, Director, HIV, Health and Development Team, UNDP
  • Yodi Mahendradhata, Director, Centre for Health Policy and Management, Universitas Gadjah Mada, Indonesia

Need for integrated approaches and reaching those in need

One panel discussed the role that public private partnerships (PPPs) and product development partnerships (PDPs) play in these areas. Key points made were the importance of an integrated approach where product development accounts for the particular needs of low- and middle-income countries. Participants discussed strategies that PDPs and PPPs have adopted or could adopt.

For example, GHIT is supporting clinical trials on a new malaria vaccine in Burkina Faso with the Centre National de Recherche et de Formation sur le Paludisme (CNRFP). This is integrating local capacity with global innovation for malaria control.

A second panel reviewed how to reach people in need. One of the targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is to end epidemics of these diseases by 2030. The panel examined cross-sectoral coordination and policy coherence, and how it is used to make the introduction and scale-up of new technologies more effective and sustainable. The critical role of regional and multilateral organizations was emphasized.

In Indonesia, following the introduction of GeneXpert 3 factors critical for successful introduction of the technology were identified: acceptability by end users, readiness of the health system and ownership by country.

Participants agreed on key principles:

  • Capacity development is key
  • Transparency in pricing is important
  • More countries in LMICs need to be involved in R&D and more health research networks
  • The ethics of delivery need to be considered

The two panels were held the day before the 2017 Prince Mahidol Award Conference began. The theme for that conference is “Addressing the Health of Vulnerable Populations for an Inclusive Society.” The Conference brings together leading public health leaders and stakeholders from around the world to discuss high priority global health issues, summarize findings and propose concrete solutions and recommendations.

For more information, contact: Dr Garry Aslanyan.