A big debate in some developed countries concerns the cost of healthcare. Having access to the latest medical equipment and expertise can have a significant impact on the life expantancy of a nation. While this does correlate strongly with the wealth of nation, there are a few locally led projects under the way in attempts to find cheaper, more accessible solutions to detecting and treating disease.
One interesting attempt is the efforts of a physics grad student at Nairobi University, Linali Omuchemi to develop an optical imaging technique to detect plasmodia (malaria parasites) in blood samples. This technique is meant to be faster and more accurate than current methods which depend on a trained techncian examining a sample through the microscope ... its also meant to be cheaper than other more accurate detection techniques.
Kenya's primary medical research institute, KEMRI has a production department charged with helping local scientists turn their research into viable commercial products. At KEMRI's graduate school of health sciences, master's and doctoral students are now funded on with the understanding that they will conclude their research with a product.
Hope to see more good developments on healthcare front!