What is a "global good"?

By Carl Leitner

Too often, “innovation” in the fields of health and information communications technology (ICT) is equated with the creation of something entirely new. Instead of re-inventing a technology or solution that already exists—which leads to duplication and waste—we can leverage those that already exists.

Digital Square believes there’s innovation in building upon existing tools that we know work and bringing these tools together in new ways to address health system priorities. Global goods are digital health tools that are proven to deliver results and which can be used in multiple countries and contexts. Often open-source, these tools should be easy to implement, scale, and be interoperable across commonly used systems.

Digital Square is coordinating investments in global goods to help ensure they have reliable funding streams. These investments sustain high-quality products that are a part of the national health information infrastructure and allow for continued growth in functionality according to countries’ needs. OpenLMIS is an example of a global good solution. It’s an open-source, customizable, and tested electronic logistics management information system. OpenLMIS supports facilities in low-resource settings to ensure they have the resources and commodities they need such as: medicines, immunizations, and other medical supplies. Without tools like OpenLMIS, supply chain systems have to rely on pen-and-paper data collection which causes delays and errors in the supply chain.

Global goods matter not only because they cut down on fragmentation and duplication in the health sector and beyond. They matter because when they’re scaled appropriately, global goods save lives and are positively impacting the health of people around the world.

If you’re interested in making a global good investment, telling us about a global good that has been successful, or simply learning more, connect with the Digital Square team at digitalsquare@path.org.