Design of health care technologies for the developing world

Annu Rev Biomed Eng. 2007;9:567-87. doi: 10.1146/annurev.bioeng.9.060906.151913.


Approximately 20 years ago, the international community embarked on a project to bring health care to everyone by the year 2000 featuring, among other things, technologies that were known to be effective and economical. It was largely a failure. In fact, health care deteriorated in many of the target nations. Problems such as public mistrust, lack of spare parts, lack of required consumables, lack of reliable power and water, lack of public infrastructure such as roads, lack of technical expertise, and other problems plague health care technology in the developing world. Biomedical engineers are just beginning to quantify and address the barriers to technology unique to the developing world. This article reviews the barriers, both real and perceived, to the introduction of health care technology with a main focus on health care technology in hospitals.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomedical Technology / instrumentation*
  • Biomedical Technology / methods*
  • Biomedical Technology / trends
  • Delivery of Health Care / trends*
  • Developing Countries*
  • Equipment Design / methods*
  • Equipment Design / trends
  • Equipment and Supplies*