Report on our global collaborations and visit to Delhi, India
28 May 2019
We visited India to advance our partnerships around affordable technologies.
In April 2019, IHE and WEISS visited Delhi, India to advance partnerships around affordable technologies. We visited the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT-Delhi), both world-renowned centres of excellence in frugal innovation for healthcare.
Our trip built on previous visits from UCL representatives, including the UCL President and Provost Prof Michael Arthur, and collaborations being led by our Pro Vice Provost South Asia, Prof Monica Lakhanpaul.
Applying engineering technologies to tackle the globe's biggest healthcare challenges
Developing innovative technologies that are also affordable is a necessity in the healthcare landscape of emerging economies like India, as medical practitioners often have to deliver services where infrastructure is limited. Within India a significant proportion of its 1.4 billion citizens live near or below the poverty line and medical care is generally paid for out of their own pockets, meaning that product development must be inexpensive in order for it to be adopted.
What is significant, is that this low-cost constraint has not compromised the quality of the healthcare innovations coming out of India. Affordable, effective and accessible alternative solutions are being created for patients with regularity.
Collaboration with our Indian partners offers exciting potential for bidirectional learning. It is a chance to explore how the kind of digital and engineering technologies that we are developing at UCL could be applied to effectively work in low-resource settings. By working with partners on the ground we can get a better sense of what the real challenges are and what is needed to make technologies translatable and usable.
There is also a lot to be learnt from India's approach to affordable innovation. As the NHS faces its own resource constraints, this need has become particularly pertinent. Reversing a frugal mindset back into our own UK-based research offers the potential to save the NHS significant resources, which could then be directed toward patient care instead.