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Year : 2015  |  Volume : 17  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 47-48

Utilization of appropriate technology in public health in developing countries

Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Ammapettai, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Web Publication7-Jan-2015

Correspondence Address:
Saurabh R Shrivastava
Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Ammapettai, Chennai, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2276-7096.148706

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How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Jegadeesh R. Utilization of appropriate technology in public health in developing countries. J Med Trop 2015;17:47-8

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Jegadeesh R. Utilization of appropriate technology in public health in developing countries. J Med Trop [serial online] 2015 [cited 2023 Oct 2];17:47-8. Available from:

Globally, health has been declared as a fundamental human right, which means that the State has the responsibility for ensuring the optimal level of health for its people. [1] As health is controlled by a broad range of determinants (viz. adequate food, housing, basic sanitation, lifestyle, etc.), it implies that "health care" is definitely more than "medical care." [1] In order to achieve the global goal of "health for all" and improve the health indicators, the "primary health care" approach was universally adopted. [1] This global approach was built on four main pillars/principles, namely equitable distribution, community participation, inter-sectoral coordination, and appropriate technology. [1]

Appropriate technology is one which is scientific, need-specific, acceptable to those who apply it and to those on whom it is applied and which can be maintained by the people, within the resources that can be afforded by the community and the nation. [1] In fact, it has been proposed that any technology which is economically, socially and politically feasible as well as effective for sorting out public health problems is "appropriate," regardless of the degree of sophistication or lack of it. [2] Furthermore, the United Nations has also recommended the use of basic instruments to extend health care services especially for the low-income populations. [2]

On a broad scale, other than health sector appropriate technology has its application in different fields like construction; farming; water supply; sanitation; transport; food production and storage; information and technology. [3] However, most of these appropriate technology methods directly or indirectly benefit public health. [3] In the health sector alone, principles of appropriate technology have been utilized in different domains like treatment of dehydration with oral rehydration solution, applying bangles for measuring mid-upper arm circumference, identification of slow progress of labor using color-coded rings, in facilitating prompt diagnosis of diseases, etc. [1],[4],[5]

However, the application of the appropriate technologies in the health sector has been limited owing to the fact that mere availability of an appropriate tool in some of the health conditions will not benefit unless it is supplemented with the skilled and knowledgeable users (viz. necessity of medical and social environment). [6] In other words, success of appropriate technology usually depends on both good functionality (efficacy, effectiveness and safety) and compatibility with the environment where they will be used. [6] In addition, there is also a crucial need for development of culturally-sensitive technology (something with which people are familiar) so that utilization be people can be enhanced. [7] Finally, there is a definite scope to promote more research and employ different media techniques to facilitate both development and uptake of these appropriate technologies. [6],[8]

Realizing the potential scope of appropriate technologies in the health sector, especially in low-resource settings, there is a definite need to explore the local needs and priorities so that efficient and sustainable interventions can be planned. [6],[9] In addition, different modes of media should be strategically selected to enable designing of culturally appropriate technology-based health interventions. [8] Simultaneously building linkages between international organizations and other nongovernmental agencies should be encouraged to ensure development of sustainable and culturally relevant solutions for the members of the community. [1],[3]

To conclude, employment of appropriate technologies in the health sector has a definite role in bringing about an improvement in the health indicators of the population. Nevertheless, its success and sustainability essentially rely on the political support and status of the health care delivery system.

  References Top

Park K. Health care of the community. In: Park K, editor. Text Book of Preventive and Social Medicine. 20 th ed. Jabalpur: Banarsidas Bhanot Publishers; 2009. p. 791-3.  Back to cited text no. 1
Solomons NW, Russell RM. "Appropriate technology" for vitamin A field research. Am J Clin Nutr 2001;73:849-50.  Back to cited text no. 2
Wikipedia. Appropriate Technology; 2014. Available from: [Last accessed on 2014 May 22].  Back to cited text no. 3
Pratinidhi AK, Javadekar SS, Shrotri AN, Gandham SV, Patil A, Patil KS. Feasibility of use of color-coded rings by nurse midwives: An appropriate technology based on partographic principles. Indian J Community Med 2013;38:157-61.  Back to cited text no. 4
[PUBMED]  Medknow Journal  
Moore D, Evans C, Gilman R, Vargas D, Escombe R. Appropriate technology in tuberculosis diagnostics. Lancet 2005;365:1541-2.  Back to cited text no. 5
Tsu VD. Appropriate technology to prevent maternal mortality: Current research requirements. BJOG 2005;112:1213-8.  Back to cited text no. 6
Craig Rushing S, Stephens D. Tribal recommendations for designing culturally appropriate technology-based sexual health interventions targeting Native youth in the Pacific Northwest. Am Indian Alsk Native Ment Health Res 2012;19:76-101.  Back to cited text no. 7
Rushing SC, Stephens D. Use of media technologies by Native American teens and young adults in the Pacific Northwest: Exploring their utility for designing culturally appropriate technology-based health interventions. J Prim Prev 2011;32:135-45.  Back to cited text no. 8
Kiserud T. Global reproductive health: Is diagnostic ultrasound appropriate technology? Ultrasound Obstet Gynecol 2012;40:123-5.  Back to cited text no. 9

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