Hilton Humanitarian Prize Awarded to PATH
Finding health solutions for the developing world
PATH employs more than 800 staff in 32 offices in 20 countries. Its team of scientists, engineers, and technical specialists create and test promising new technologies in a state-of-the-art laboratory and product development facility at its Seattle headquarters. PATH has adapted, developed, or co-developed more than 85 technologies designed to improve the health and lives of people in low-resource countries, even in the most remote areas of the globe. Chief among these technologies are: vaccine vial monitors that detect when temperature-sensitive vaccines have been exposed to heat; SoloShot™ single-use, disposable syringes that prevent needle reuse; Ultra Rice® technology that uses manufactured, rice-like grains fortified with micronutrients to alleviate malnutrition; and the Uniject® prefilled injection device that ensures correct amounts of vaccines or drugs are administered. Several billion of these products are in use around the globe.
One of PATH’s current initiatives is stopping diarrheal disease, which kills an estimated 5,000 young children every day. PATH is taking a multipronged approach that includes developing vaccines against the most common cause of severe diarrhea, increasing communities’ access to safe water, and working with partners to develop a disposable “lab on a card” diagnostic device as an easy-to-use and low-cost tool for detecting diarrhea-causing pathogens. Typical of its private-sector approach, PATH is evaluating more than 150 commercial water-purifying technologies such as filters and chemical treatments that could be sold for household use to provide safe water in villages and towns.
PATH was one of more than 200 nominees for the 2009 Hilton Prize, said Judy Miller, vice president of the Hilton Foundation and director of the Hilton Prize. She added that the Hilton Prize international jurors were impressed by PATH’s record of innovation, its keen grasp of potential transformative solutions, and its ability to get affordable products into developing markets.