George Health innovations recognised for potential to transform global health

George Health innovations recognised for potential to transform global health

A new Australian product designed to make kidney dialysis more broadly available at low cost has won first prize in a global health innovations competition.

The Affordable Dialysis System, developed by Sydney-based Ellen Medical, beat more than 500 entries from 43 countries to score top prize in the World Innovation Summit for Health 2020 Innovation Booster competition.

Millions of people die unnecessarily every year because they cannot access treatment for kidney failure. Ellen Medical, a George Health company, was founded in partnership with inventor Vincent Garvey to help to make dialysis cheaper and more broadly available, particularly in developing countries. It is one of four businesses established under the George Health banner to commercialise the world-leading research of The George Institute for Global Health.

Managing Director of Ellen Medical John Knight, a medical specialist in kidney diseases in children, said that with rates of kidney failure continuing to rise, new solutions were urgently needed.

“Dialysis has been a safe and effective treatment for kidney failure for over 60 years, but for every patient who gets this treatment, another three will die, because it is just too expensive,” he said.

“Most of the preventable deaths occur in the developing world.”

One of the biggest hurdles to accessing dialysis is lack of cheap, sterile water in places with an unreliable electricity supply and potentially contaminated water sources. Ellen Medical’s portable distiller transforms local potable water to medical grade sterile water which is used to prepare peritoneal dialysis bags at the point of care.

“Our system is not only much cheaper to deliver than standard peritoneal dialysis but also avoids the logistics costs and greenhouse gas burden of transporting thousands of bags of dialysis fluid to remote locations,” John added.

“We’re really proud of this achievement as it represents important international recognition in a highly competitive environment,” said John. “We warmly thank our many generous supporters and our two key sponsors – the NSW Health Medical Devices Fund and the Paul Ramsay Foundation.”

Another George Health innovation, SMARThealth, was one of the final 14 shortlisted products for the ‘Boosters’ prize.

SMARThealth is a clinical decision support system designed to deliver low-cost, evidence based primary healthcare. Implemented and tested in Australia, China, India, Indonesia, and Thailand, it supports health workers with the technology and training to empower them to provide preventative care.

Non-communicable diseases, such as cardiovascular and kidney diseases, are responsible for 70 percent of deaths globally. Five billion people have no reliable access to essential health care.

CEO and President of George Health, Staph Leavenworth Bakali said the Affordable Dialysis System and SMARThealth are part of a pipeline of commercial solutions being developed by George Health, based on research at The George Institute for Global Health, with potential to help transform global health, with a particular focus on under-served populations.

“We are delighted to receive global recognition with these accolades – they reinforce the importance of harnessing affordable and evidence-informed innovation to tackle the biggest health challenges of the 21st century,” he said.

“Whether by reducing the costs of healthcare delivery, improving the quality of care for patients or increasing access to essential treatments, innovation is paramount to saving lives and boosting health system sustainability.”

The WISH 2020 Innovation Booster competition attracts some of the world’s most exciting healthcare innovations, ranging from practical devices to business models to design-based solutions.

The World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH) meets every two years in Doha, sponsored by the Qatar Foundation, attracting more than 2000 participants from over 100 countries.  Virtual presentation of a trophy and cash prize of US$10,000 was made at the WISH closing ceremony late on Thursday 19 November Sydney time.

Find out more about Ellen Medical and the Affordable Dialysis System here.

Media Enquiries

Tina Wall, Senior Media Advisor
The George Institute for Global Health, Sydney
P: +61 410 411 983 E: [email protected]