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Clinicians, engineers, business to jointly improve health of women and children in India

Bengaluru: The Centre for Global Health at Massachusetts General Hospital (USA) on Friday announced the launch of CAMTech INDIA, an initiative to catalyse the development and adoption of new technologies to address preventable causes of death among women and children in India.

As a public-private partnership, CAMTech INDIA convenes a diverse network of innovators across public health, engineering and business to target pressing, unmet clinical needs in reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health (RMNCH). The initiative is supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID/India), the Omidyar Network and the Bacca Foundation.

“CAMTech INDIA will bring together a powerful network of innovators in India who are passionate about developing life-saving technologies to benefit women and children,” said Elizabeth Bailey, Director of the Consortium for Affordable Medical Technologies (CAMTech). “We have a laser-focus on the urgent clinical needs of women and children in India, because meaningful health technology innovation starts with a clear understanding of the medical context.”

CAMTech INDIA will officially launch during the inaugural Clinical Summit to be held in Bangalore on July 18, 2014, where clinicians will present key challenges they face in RMNCH in India. The Summit will be immediately followed by a Medical Technology ‘Hack-a-thon’, hosted by GE Healthcare India.

Medical Technology (MedTech) Hack-a-thons are 48-hour events where clinicians, engineers and entrepreneurs collaborate on radical, new solutions for unsolved RMNCH clinical problems. Cross-disciplinary teams organized around key clinical challenges work late into the night to develop functional prototypes and explore new business models to commercialize their innovations. Teams present their innovations to a panel of judges at the end of the event, and are awarded a variety of prizes to help take their ideas forward.

CAMTech has brought together over 1,000 innovators to participate in Hack-a-thons since 2012 and has spawned a wide range of new technologies addressing intractable problems such as newborn asphyxia, post-partum haemorrhage and cervical cancer. The events also help facilitate the cross-pollination of innovative ideas between the US, India and Uganda.

An initial $2 million investment for CAMTech INDIA will support four key activities. In addition to Clinical Summits and Medical Technology Hack-a-thons, Innovation Awards draw on the broad pipeline of RMNCH technologies in India and provide seed funding to determine clinical impact, technical feasibility and commercial viability. The Accelerator Programme provides ongoing mentorship to entrepreneurs to remove barriers to successfully deploying new technologies into clinical environments.

CAMTech INDIA will draw on the expertise of many local partners. Glocal Healthcare, which runs a chain of rural hospitals in India and houses its own Medical Technologies Division, will be CAMTech INDIA’s implementation partner for Clinical Summits and Hack-a-thons. InnAccel, an incubator for affordable medical technology ventures in India, will serve as CAMTech INDIA’s Accelerator partner. Other key partners include the Public Health Foundation of India, the Lata Medical Research Foundation, Narayana Health, and Vellore Institute of Technology in India; MIT’s H@cking Medicine and Harvard Medical School in the US; and Mbarara University of Science and Technology in Uganda.

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