Developed Nations Should Adapt Cost-Effective Health Initiatives Pioneered In Developing Countries, Experts Say

“Rich countries that provide wasteful, inefficient, and inequitable health services should be more accountable for the money they spend and should adapt cost-effective models of care pioneered in poor countries, delegates agreed at a meeting” on global health held by the Salzburg Global Seminar and the Dartmouth Center for Health Care Delivery Science last week in Hanover, New Hampshire, BMJ News reports. Speaking at the conference, Al Mulley, director of the Dartmouth center, said, “Poor countries have had to innovate to provide essential services, and there is plenty of scope for ‘reverse innovation,'” BMJ writes.

“The term, which is gaining currency in health circles, was coined initially to describe innovations developed in poor countries that are then distributed or marketed in richer ones,” the journal notes. BMJ cites Zambia’s e-health records system; mobile phone programs in Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria that use scratch-off codes to identify counterfeit and substandard drugs; and the incorporation of lay community health workers into multidisciplinary teams throughout the developing world as examples of initiatives being pursued in developing countries from which developed nations could learn (Richards, 10/4).