Innovators for Global Health is a Spring 2023 recipient of the Srinivasan Family Awards for Projects in Emerging Markets, run by the Center for Emerging Markets at Northeastern University.

Innovators for Global Health (IGH), a dedicated student organization at Northeastern University, is making strides in addressing global healthcare disparities in Ghana. Founded on the principle of enhancing healthcare access in low-resource settings, IGH focuses on developing affordable and sustainable medical supplies that can be manufactured locally in the communities they serve.

In March 2023, members of IGH's leadership board, Zach Hoglund, Paloma Figueroa, Katie Tschoepe, and Scott Pozder, traveled to Accra, Ghana, to kickstart their latest service project. They conducted comprehensive needs assessments at Greater Accra Regional Hospital, Kyebi Government Hospital, and the Akyem Dwenase Medical Center, identifying three medical supply needs affecting local, district, and national healthcare facilities. Before returning to Boston, the team developed a partnership with students at the University of Ghana and formed a new international chapter of IGH so that they could collaborate with local students and faculty and educate one another on engineering topics.

Over the next year, IGH developed three innovative medical device solutions tailored to the needs expressed by the partner facilities. These solutions included a medical suction pump alarm, oxygen regulator splitter, and hospital bed, each designed to address critical gaps in healthcare infrastructure. 

In March 2024, the team returned to Ghana to deliver these medical device solutions, identify new needs through follow-up needs assessments, and scope the pathway to commercialization of their medical devices.

Driven by the success of their partnership with University of Ghana students, the Northeastern team also established a second Ghanaian IGH chapter at Academic City University during their March 2024 visit. All three IGH chapters joined together over the week's visit for engineering workshops and networking with local officials so that students at the University of Ghana and Academic City University can carry on IGH's work to create sustainable solutions for local medical facilities.

Over the course of their service project, the Northeastern IGH team has been able to gain significant experience in leading complex, international projects and invaluable lessons about healthcare equity, engineering, and medical device design. When asked about key takeaways from working with IGH, the team emphasized the importance of empowering local supply chains and individuals to create sustainable solutions and the profound impact of entrepreneurship in driving long-term solutions for healthcare equity.

Looking ahead, IGH remains committed to continuing to clinically evaluate their medical device solutions to ensure efficacy and safety. Once complete, the team plans to leverage their newfound connections with Ghanaian healthcare agencies and seek approval from Ghana's FDA to scale up production to maximize their impact across the country.

You can learn more about Innovators for Global Health here: