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Surprising Science

Testing Low-Cost Health Care Technology In India

New Delhi’s MedTech Row is home to a growing number of health sector companies, partnerships, and nonprofits that are focusing on how to provide affordable care to the country’s poorest citizens.

What’s the Latest Development?

American universities, entrepreneurs, and companies are pairing with their Indian counterparts in an area of New Delhi nicknamed “MedTech Row” to figure out innovative ways to bring low-cost health care and medical technology to the 835 million of India’s citizens who live on less than $4.50 per day. Although nonprofits such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation operate there, the number of for-profit companies and consortiums has grown significantly. Venture fund director Ritesh Banglani says, “We’re very bullish about this sector…Just streamlining basic processes can dramatically improve efficiencies.

What’s the Big Idea?

A 2011 Fitch Ratings report predicted that India’s health care industry will total $100 billion by 2015, owing to growing incomes and lifestyle-related diseases, among other factors. Private sector investment has traditionally been low, with the government doing most of the spending. However, low engineering and manufacturing costs are giving MedTech Row companies and consortiums the ability to produce a wide variety of experimental projects ranging “from inexpensive, life-saving, portable ventilators, to fecal incontinence devices to multi-use diagnostic and drug delivery devices that allow biopsies and targeted fine-needle drug delivery.” Hopefully the work being done in New Delhi will export itself to other parts of the world.

dp Photography /


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