2009: the year in review

As the first decade of the 21st century comes to a close, PATH and our partners are gaining momentum. We are making demonstrable progress in our effort to improve health for the world’s most vulnerable populations.

The world is witnessing the impact that innovative solutions can achieve on seemingly insurmountable global health problems. Substantial political and financial commitments from governments, foundations, individuals, and the private sector are leading to tangible progress. Countries are gaining ground in the struggle against malaria. Health programs are preventing cervical cancer. Child mortality rates are dropping. Investments in global health are paying off in terms of real lives saved.

Alongside these gains, however, are stark reminders of the complexity of our challenge. Countries with strong national leadership are making progress against the leading killers, but poorer and less-developed countries and communities are experiencing more concentrated burdens of disease and increasing health inequities.

With the most robust pipeline of innovative tools and technologies in our history, PATH and our partners are poised to overcome these inequities. We are an integral part of the global health solutions that are unfolding today. And we are challenging ourselves to come even closer to our vision: a world where innovation ensures that health is within reach for everyone.

New tools move into use

PATH, our partners, and the countries and communities we work with have a tremendous capacity to develop solutions. But it can take years to bring new technologies or program approaches from concept into widespread use. In 2009, we moved many technologies and tools along the “innovation pipeline.” To accelerate their development, we applied strategies—public–private partnerships, user-centered research, refined market and commercial assessments—that moved these solutions ahead as efficiently as possible.

PATH's Malaria Vaccine Initiative serves as one example of this approach. To accelerate development of the world’s most promising malaria vaccine, the partnership launched a multicountry trial, pioneered the use of regulatory pathways, and worked with decision-makers to ensure that the vaccine will quickly move into widespread use if proven safe and effective. If regulatory clearance is granted, full availability is possible in five years or so, potentially saving hundreds of thousands of lives.

Solutions go where they’re needed

PATH works to bring existing health solutions to people who need them. Through partnerships with national governments, local community organizations, and the private sector, we identify needs and determine how to extend the reach of health solutions. We then strive to ensure that health systems can deliver the solutions and that policies reinforce their use.

The Prevention of Postpartum Hemorrhage Initiative (POPPHI) illustrates how we bring health solutions to hard-to-reach populations. In Mali, the initiative conducted research that led to policy change and dramatically increased access to a proven, lifesaving intervention for excessive bleeding after childbirth. In Mali today, this policy change means mothers are more likely to survive to care for their babies.

Taking solutions to scale

Only in the past few years has the world begun to see new global health interventions make a difference at national or global levels. The “implementation science” for scaling up public health efforts in the poorest countries is still nascent.

One of PATH’s most tangible contributions to these challenges is our ability to bridge gaps in implementation. Across each of our focus areas, we work to find new ways to deliver comprehensive health solutions. Just as important, we bring them into national or regional use, often in collaboration with governments and the private sector.

In 2009, for example, we helped integrate solutions to the deeply intertwined epidemics of HIV and tuberculosis. As this report shows, we built critical, sustainable connections across previously disparate treatment systems in Tanzania. The outcome of this work is a more effective approach to preventing the dual epidemics of HIV and tuberculosis and bringing more comprehensive services to people—49,000 so far—across the country.

Building on progress

PATH is ready to build on these and other achievements in 2010 and beyond. The next five years will be critical to reaching the global health community’s ambitious goals. Working with our partners and supporters, we can move closer to achieving these milestones and improving the lives of people around the world.

Photo: PATH/Amynah Janmohamed.

Smiling school children.

We envision a world where innovation ensures that health is within reach for everyone.