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USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah speaks on the importance of new technologies for global health

Ashton Wingate — February 17, 2011 – 12:14 pm

“A world-class vaccine does not need to be delivered in a world-class hospital for it to be effective.” This statement came from USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah at the National Institute of Health’s annual David E. Barnes Global Health Lecture, where Shah focused on the importance of new technologies for global health.

His statement exemplifies the new frontier in global health innovation - bringing technology “from the bench to the bush.” The new pneumococcal vaccine is being delivered at conference centers in Nairobi. The new TB diagnostic GeneXpert functions in non-specialist laboratories and requires little training to operate. These are the technologies of the present and future - simple, effective, and accessible to those most in need.

Our country is experiencing difficult economic times and we are being forced to make tough decisions on how to utilize scarce resources. But now is not the time to turn our backs on scientific discovery. We must continue supporting technological advances and expand care to the developing world. Administrator Shah is correct when he says “our largest opportunities to improve human health and the human condition do not lie in optimizing services to the 10 to 20 percent of people in the developing world who have good access to world-class facilities. Rather, they lie in extending outreach to the 80 to 90 percent of people who do not.”

To read the full text of Rajiv Shah’s speech click here: http://www.usaid.gov/press/speeches/2011/sp110215.html