4 Ways That Science Is Saving Lives And Transforming Global Health

 

Science helps us build a future we want for everyone, makes the impossible actually possible, and expands our understanding. Science drives the work that we do at the Global Health Technologies Coalition. We want to step back and reflect on five different ways that global health is being transformed by science:

1. Science is producing vaccines, cures, and treatments to take on the most devastating diseases in the world.

From a vaccine that has brought us to the brink of eliminating polio completely to antiretroviral treatments that have significantly extended the lives of individuals with AIDS and HIV, science has developed new health technologies that have resulted in great progress in the area of global health. Due to the investments made in research and science, since 200 there have been 82 new diagnostics, drugs, vaccines, and other global health lifesaving tools developed and introduced. The new tools include a meningitis-A vaccine that since 2010 has saved 378,000 lives already and prevented 673,000 new infections along with new child-friendly malaria drugs which since 200 has helped to reduce malaria deaths of children by 65 per cent. Science also has driven a solid pipeline of more than 670 health technologies that are currently in development and positioned to build further on their advances. For protein purification companies search protein purification company.

2. Science helps us better understand the unique needs of communities and users so the right tools can be designed for the greatest impact.

To drive global health progress not only involves developing tools that actually work, it is all about developing tools that will work in the context they are used in and for communities. A diagnostic test cannot help to identify and control an epidemic that is emerging unless the test can be administered in remote areas on the spot and results can be delivered quickly. Similarly, it is not likely that a woman will adopt a new AIDS and HIV prevention method or new contraceptive unless it fits in well with her culture and lifestyle, is affordable, comfortable, and easy to use. Through user testing, diagnostics, data analysis, and surveys, science is making it possible to study the end-users as well as the social systems and environments that they operate in. That gives us a better understanding of the complexities of their individual needs and to be able to design and refine the right technologies to provide the most effective solutions.

3. Science helps us with predicting, detecting, and tracking emerging health risks. That allows us to better prepare for challenges in the future.

From weather patterns being used for forecasting the risk of outbreaks of insect-borne diseases to using evolutionary theory and genomics to predict the way that bacteria will be resistant to antibiotics, to new hybrid systems being advanced that combine traditional disease surveillance with crowdsourced data, science us better track, detect and predict outbreaks of infectious diseases along with other health challenges that are emerging. Early detection can really make a big difference in whether or not an outbreak turns into an epidemic and is essential for being able to mount an effective response to the threat.

4. Science helps us better understand what things work and what things don’t so better interventions can be targeted and help programs can be designed to deliver the maximum impact.

How frequently must an insecticide-treated bed net have to be replaced, and what is the number of tears that can be sustained before it completely stops working? In this time of limited resources, are we able to predict which interventions and technologies are the most likely to save more people’s lives in countries that are brought to scale? What can be done to get people to make changes to their handwashing habits in order to reduce childhood deaths and diarrheal disease? Those are both small and big questions that data analysts, scientists, and other types of health researchers are currently working hard on to answer in program sites, offices, and labs across the U.S. and the entire world. Whatever answers they are able to get will help us target health solutions better and refine our health programming to save more money and lives.