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Health, Innovation and Equity

photo of mother and child at clinic in West Bengal

Innovation in both industry and health systems profoundly affects access to care. Yet research on industrial innovation and research on health access and equity remain poorly integrated. Our researchers are working to bridge this gap, investigating the industry-health-innovation linkages, and generating new policy-relevant knowledge to support better and more equitable health care.

Current projects

Capacity building in complex qualitative–quantitative methodologies: strengthening an East African–UK collaborative network

This project is analysing and testing a new data collection tool which has the potential to be of benefit in improving health systems research in African contexts.

How do local production capabilities in global generics and biosimilar industries impact on public health security challenges in India and African countries?

Generic and biosimilar medicines have the potential to lower the costs of drug treatments. This project is gathering evidence to help secure the flow of affordable medicines to healthcare systems in developing countries. 

Innovation for Cancer Care in Africa (ICCA)

This project aims to demonstrate the benefits for inclusive development of linking local industrial and social innovation in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). It will do this by addressing the “hard case” of increasing access to cancer care.

Completed projects

Southern Regionalisms, Poverty and Health

The growing presence of multilateral regional organisations in diverse public policy fields has been the subject of substantial academic and policy research, but little is known about whether and how such formations contribute to the realisation of global and regional goals of poverty reduction.

Unpacking the Role of Industry Associations in Diffusion and Governance of Health Innovations in Developing Countries

This project tries to get inside the black box of innovation and politics, researching whether and in what ways biopharmaceutical associations in developing countries promote technological capabilities and effective governance of health innovation.

Innovative Spending in Global Health

This project targets two global health funders, the Gates Foundation and the Global Fund to Fight HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria, looking specifically at how decisions on what health innovations to fund are arrived at in the quest for solutions to HIV/AIDS and malaria in South Africa and Zimbabwe.

Industrial Productivity, Health Sector Performance and Policy Synergies for Inclusive Growth: A Study in Tanzania and Kenya

This project studies the supply chains into the health systems in Tanzania and Kenya of essential medicines and medical equipment and supplies from local industries and from imports. Shortages and unaffordability of these commodities are persistent causes of exclusionary and poor quality health care in low income Africa.

Scientific Capacity Building in Africa

This project brings together a series of commissioned pieces of work with ongoing academic study of what it means to build scientific capacity in Africa and the implications of this for innovation and health goals set by governments, funders and research institutes.

Life Sciences, Innovation and Social Justice

This project examines the new challenges that bio-scientific knowledge poses to 'fair' distribution of opportunities and risks, benefits and costs in a global civil society.

Innovation, Global Justice and Politics of Development

The importance of innovation in human development is undeniable. Since the 1780s, successive scientific and technological revolutions have introduced new products and services with tremendous impact on human well-being and general welfare. Yet innovation has not been available to all individuals and their societies.

Ethics, Payments and Maternal Survival in Tanzania

The maternal mortality rate in Tanzania is among the highest in the world. This research focuses on the interaction between payment practices in maternal care and the quality and ethics of the care provided.

Medical Devices Industries in Developing Countries

Medical device and Pharmaceutical industry forms important industries for containment of healthcare cost and access of healthcare to poor people.

Innovation in Pharma and Equity in Health Systems

The case of health care represents a crucial issue and 'example' in the analysis of the interrelations between innovation and inequality. The project seeks to tackle the issue by bringing together an understanding of the construction of capabilities in innovation and manufacturing, and the construction of health system capability to deliver access and lower inequity.

Non-governmental Action to Improve the Access of the Poor to Good Quality Low-Cost Drugs

This research analyses the scope for non-governmental action to improve access by low income people to quality-assured low cost medicines. It concentrates on problems of access by the poor in India and in Tanzania to reliable drugs from Indian pharmaceutical companies.


Contact us

To find out more about our work, or to discuss a potential project, please contact:

International Development Research Office
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
The Open University
Walton Hall
Milton Keynes
United Kingdom

T: +44 (0)1908 858502