An individuals health greatly influences their ability to support themselves, provide for their family, and contribute to the community. Because of this, access to care and the health of a community is central to any development effort.
Unfortunately, health care is poorly distributed around the world. Southern hemisphere countries are much more likely to suffer from lack of access to care. One aspect of this disparity is the health technology gap between developed and developing nations. While developed countries continue to invest in high technology equipment, developing countries often lack the most basic health care tools. Appropriate Medical Technologies (AMT's) can help communities, governments and development agencies create simple, low-cost, and culturally appropriate responses to health care problems.
The use of appropriate technologies is less common in healthcare than other fields such as construction or agriculture. However, there is significant crossover between the public health field and the water and sanitation fields, areas that are more familiar with appropriate technologies. Appropriate technology is often used to develop mobility and rehabilitation equipment as well as tests used to diagnose diseases.