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Global Health Innovations Will Only Reach Most Vulnerable Populations With Appropriate Political Action

The Guardian: Health care innovations won’t cure global health inequality — political action will
Ben Ramalingam, research fellow at the Institute of Development Studies

“…[T]he inequalities in tackling health problems are not because of a lack of innovation, but because of a lack of access to innovation. The binding constraints … are seldom technical but instead related to the political and economic choices, which determine how innovations get funded, resourced, and supported, by whom and for whom. What to do in the face of such a system? The answer is to fight the innovation and political battles at the same time. We have to identify the gaps, and to test and trial the best new ideas that can address longstanding challenges faced by the world’s most vulnerable people, and build the evidence base that these ideas really can make a difference. Political leaders need to ensure that the scaling of new solutions includes those people who need innovation most, and who are most likely to be excluded from its benefits. … The speakers and delegates at the World Health Summit should … ensure that any statement calling for more and better medical technologies is quickly followed by a statement recognizing that technology should at best be seen as a complement to, but never a substitute for, political action” (10/9).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.