Thursday, January 18, 2007


Recently I corresponded with Matt Smith who is the founder of "Developaid." Matt was a key developer of "Multivent", a ventilator designed specifically with the needs of the developing world in mind. Unfortunately, "Multivent" did not go into production and Matt offers this explanation:

"The problem seemed to be that it was virtually impossible to promote such a product directly into the target third-world “market”. Even if that was possible, there’s very little money available locally to purchase equipment in any significant quantities. To promote such a product directly to Aid Agencies, charities, and NGO’s that tender for governmental aid contracts for example, a company would have to totally change their sales strategy. When it is also taken into consideration that such manufacturers are generally focused on their higher cost, developed world equipment, which will also sell associated add-ons. It becomes clear as to why products designed specifically for the third and developing worlds have a lower commercial priority, and it is hard for competitive companies to justify putting work and advertising budgets into products that don’t produce immediate profits."

As a result of his experience Matt started Developaid. "DevelopAid aims to provide a database of appropriate technology products specifically designed for use in the third or developing worlds. We hope to help manufacturers by giving them a forum to showcase their products. We are here to help Doctors in the third and developing worlds by bringing them information on products that are functional, reliable, affordable and specifically designed for these challenging environments."

Kudos to Matt for his dedication to making affordable devices to improve health outcomes in the developing world. You can read more about developaid and the story behind "Multivent."

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