Medical Technology Transfer and Services (MTTS) designs, manufactures and distributes locally appropriate, high-quality medical devices to treat the most common causes of neonatal mortality and morbidity in low-resource countries.
Focus: Healthcare, Women and Girls
Geographic Area of Impact: Asia, Africa
Model: Social Innovation Business
Number of Direct Beneficiaries: 450,000 (2016)
Percentage Earned Revenue: 100% (2016)
The Social Problem
According to the WHO, every year nearly 40% of all deaths of children under five are among newborns (during the first 28 days of life). In developing countries, nearly half of all mothers and newborns do not receive skilled and quality care. Hospitals in such regions often lack access to neonatal technologies that can address common ailments such as hypothermia, respiratory distress, and jaundice. While these technologies do exist, they have been designed for countries for more developed healthcare systems and are often too expensive and difficult to operate and maintain in resource-constrained hospitals.
Innovation and Activities
MTTS is a social enterprise that designs, manufactures and sells the LifeKit, a comprehensive suite of locally appropriate, high-quality medical devices to to treat the most common causes of neonatal mortality and morbidity in low-resource countries. Seventy five percent of causes of neonatal deaths are preventable through the LifeKit suite of products which includes: Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machines for respiratory distress syndrome; radiant warmers for hypothermia; and phototherapy devices for jaundice.
The LifeKit products are highly cost competitive. Compared to devices manufactured for more developed countries that are priced between USD 8,000 and 10,000, individual LifeKit products are sold for between USD 1000 and USD 3000. To make products cost competitive while ensuring a long lifetime, MTTS uses materials easily sourced in the targeted low-resource countries. Furthermore, MTTS makes design choices that reduce the need for spare parts requiring periodic replacements, thereby eliminating recurring costs for hospitals.
A key element of the LifeKit design philosophy is to identify and eliminate the most common sources of product failures in low-resource hospitals stemming from regular power fluctuations, lack of maintenance and inexperienced staff. For instance, Firefly, its award-winning phototherapy device, has eliminated typical internal moving parts, including fans and adjustable components that can be easily broken. The outer casings of the device have tight seams and no vents to prevent insects, dusts and liquids from entering and damaging the device.
The device is smaller in size compared to its alternatives, to ensure that only one infant is treated at a time, reducing the risk of cross infection; it is also appropriate for use at the mothers’ bedside or in the intensive care unit. Compared to existing single-sided phototherapy devices, Firefly offers more effective treatment with light sources on two sides, effectively reducing treatment time by 40% and consuming 70% less energy.
A key element to the success of MTTS is the three channels of distribution: 1) commercial distribution through traditional sales channels and local distributors, 2) contracts with government hospitals or international healthcare organisations who can bring the technology to where it is most needed and 3) in select situations through MTTS’s non-profit initiative, Day One, and other non-profit partners. With these methods in place MTTS ensures the true need is met through sales, distribution, training and after sales support.
As of 2016, nearly half a million babies have been treated directly with LifeKit devices – 75,000 of these in 2016 alone – and 1.3 million have benefitted through the supportive services offered along with the devices. Over 3000 devices have been installed in 350 hospitals across 25 countries around the world. The MTTS Firefly, introduced to the market in 2014, has now become its flagship product with over 500 units sold. In addition to focusing on Firefly’s expansion, MTTS will soon add its next generation CPAP machine to the LifeKit suite.
Nga Tuyet Trang founded MTTS in 2004 and Gregory Dajer, her husband, joined her in 2006. Gregory serves as the Chief Executive Officer focused on operations while Nga leads the sales and marketing efforts. Prior to MTTS, Gregory worked for 10 years in international business.
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