The Seattle-based Program for Appropriate Technology in Health is 30
years old and has programs in 65 countries.
This is the VOA Special English Development Report.
This year is the thirtieth anniversary of the Program for Appropriate
Technology in Health, or PATH. PATH is a nonprofit organization based in
It was created to deal with technology needs for world health, especially
reproductive health. Since then, it has expanded into other areas including
vaccine research and prevention of AIDS and malaria.
It has programs in sixty-five countries. PATH works with local partners to
design and test new technologies. It also works with companies to manufacture
and sell them.
One of its products is called the BIRTHweigh scale. This is used to identify
babies who have a dangerously low birthweight, less than two and one-half
The scale was designed for health workers with low reading skills. At first
it used colors to show different weight levels. But tests in Indonesia found
that it also had to be readable in low-light situations, for
example, at night in a house without electric power. The handheld scale was
redesigned so a person could feel a button sink into the handle if a baby is a
Now the scale is being designed to provide a guide to the right amount of
nevirapine to give a baby. Nevirapine is a drug that can prevent the spread of
H.I.V. from an infected mother to her child. H.I.V. is the virus that causes
Teresa Guillien at PATH says the group will spend about one hundred sixty
million dollars on its programs this year. PATH gets money from the United
States government and other countries and from nternational agencies. Donations
also come from companies, individuals and foundations, including the Bill and
Melinda Gates Foundation.
Last Wednesday, on Africa Malaria Day, PATH marked the first year of an
expanded campaign to prevent malaria in Zambia. The aim is to provide protective
bed nets to about eighty percent of the population.
PATH has also developed a nutritionally enriched grain called Ultra Rice.
Ultra Rice is being used in Colombia, Brazil and India.
Among other projects, PATH is trying to make sure the new cervical cancer
vaccine is available in developing countries. And, in the future, Teresa
Guillien says PATH hopes to work more on strengthening health systems in those
And that's the VOA Special English Development Report, written by Jill Moss.
To learn about other groups working in the developing world, go to
voaspecialenglish.com. I'm Shep O'Neal.