How Low and Middle-Income Countries Are Innovating to Combat Covid

Article by Ben Ramalingam, Benjamin Kumpf, Rahul Malhotra and Merrick Schaefer: “Since the Covid-19 pandemic hit, innovators around the world have developed thousands of novel solutions and practical approaches to this unprecedented global health challenge. About one-fifth of those innovations have come from low- and middle-income countries across sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and Latin America, according to our analysis of WHO data, and they work to address the needs of poor, marginalized, or excluded communities at the so-called bottom of the pyramid.

Over the past year we’ve been able to learn from and support some of those inspiring innovators. Their approaches are diverse in scope and scale and cover a vast range of pandemic response needs — from infection prevention and control to community engagement, contract tracing, social protection, business continuity, and more.

Here we share seven lessons from those innovators that offer promising insights not only for the ongoing Covid response but also for how we think about, manage, and enable innovation.

1. Ensure that your solutions are sensitive to social and cultural dynamics. 

Successful innovations are relevant to the lived realities of the people they’re intended to help. Socially and culturally sensitive design approaches see greater uptake and use. This is true in both resource-constrained and resource-rich environments.

Take contact tracing in Kenya. In a context where more than half of all residents use public transportation every day, the provider of a ticketing app for Nairobi’s bus fleets adapted its software to collect real-time passenger data. The app has been used across one of the world’s most mobile populations to trace Covid-19 cases, identify future clusters, trigger automated warnings to exposed passengers, and monitor the maximum number of people that could safely be allowed in each vehicle….(More)”.