chapter  8
10 Pages

Bridging the health divide: Institutional capacity in latecomers

Health is a fundamental prerequisite for sustainable economic development; the divide in resources, technology and nature of disease is becoming an increasing hurdle for countries to surmount. A new global political economy of health innovation is required that builds on the result of the book, taking into account that even countries labelled generally as latecomers, that lag behind enormously on general economic indicators, can build capacity in various aspects of health innovation, depending on the policy emphasis in the country over time. A fundamental reason for this lies in the fact that growth and development in latecomer countries is more dependent on structural change, of which technological change forms a part only, as the experience of the industrialized countries indicates (Ocampo and Vos, 2007). In the initial stages of development in countries, small investments in infrastructure and knowledge capacity can often bear huge results, depending on the dynamics of sectors and actors in real time. This book has provided key insights into the state of health innovation in latecomer countries, as well as evidence on several pressing issues that confront them, such as what is the state of higher education and research in these African and Asian countries under consideration? Why do we see so few cases of product development in the latecomer countries, and what explains the successes? What is the role of brain-drain and the missing human resources for health? What is the impact of intellectual property rights on promoting technological change in the pharmaceutical sector in latecomers and access to medicines? – these are some of the topics discussed. The key results of the book that are of relevance to policy are summarized here.