Innovation In Maternal, Child Health Requires Refining, Adapting Solutions For Different Contexts

STAT: Rethinking innovation in maternal and child health in Africa: five case studies
Koki Agarwal, director of USAID’s Maternal and Child Survival Program

“…In the developing world, where surgeons don’t have gloves and clinics don’t have reliable electricity or running water, the word ‘innovation’ takes on a different meaning than it does in more developed parts of the world. Here, seeming small changes can lead to policy breakthroughs, new operating systems, revitalized business practices, and revamped models of care that significantly improve health. … Innovation is also about taking proven, everyday health care strategies … and applying [them] in new and different contexts. … One of the hard parts of innovation is the sustained effort that’s needed to refine and adapt solutions for new communities. The Maternal and Child Survival Program [at USAID] aims for large-scale impact, which means learning from missteps and failures. … [R]ethinking beliefs, reinventing visions, and reimagining new and better ways to save lives require no bells or whistles — just a hefty measure of grit and fortitude…” (9/20).