Blog Post

January 19, 2016 Sara Tollefson

D-Rev supports the Sustainable Development Goals

Sustainable Development Goals logo

As we kick off 2016, D-Rev is looking forward not just to the year ahead, but also to an ambitious new phase in global development, that of the Sustainable Development Goals (the “SDGs”). We are glad to find our work already in alignment with the global consensus represented by the goals, and hope that this new agenda will result in increased support and collaborations that will help D-Rev achieve its goals—and the SDGs.

What are the Sustainable Development Goals (the “SDGs”)?

The SDGs (also known as the “Global Goals”) are a set of 17 goals to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all worldwide. The goals were unanimously adopted by all 193 Member States in the United Nations on September 25, 2015, and replace and build upon the Millennium Development Goals (the “MDGs”) that were in place from 2000 to 2015.

How does D-Rev’s work align with the SDGs?

D-Rev is especially excited about the SDGs because they affirm that the development community at large shares D-Rev’s core goals, values, and philosophies. For example:


How will D-Rev help us achieve the SDGs?

There are 17 Sustainable Development Goals. While the goals are interrelated and overlapping, Goal 3 is entirely devoted to health and well-being—D-Rev’s area of focus. Under this goal, there are two targets relevant to D-Rev’s work:

  • Achieve universal health coverage. (Target 3.8: “Achieve universal health coverage, including financial risk protection, access to quality essential health-care services and access to safe, effective, quality and affordable essential medicines and vaccines for all.”)

    • D-Rev’s goal of eliminating barriers to access to affordable, essential, high-quality medical devices is a critical aspect of achieving access to quality essential health-care services for all.

    • As part of D-Rev’s due diligence and fieldwork in hospitals around the world, we have universally seen dedicated and relatively well-trained doctors and nurses who could provide quality healthcare — if they had access to quality, context-appropriate medical devices.

  • End preventable deaths of newborns. (Target 3.2: “By 2030, end preventable deaths of newborns and children under 5 years of age, with all countries aiming to reduce neonatal mortality to at least as low as 12 per 1,000 live births and under-5 mortality to at least as low as 25 per 1,000 live births.”)

    • Globally, the neonatal mortality rate is currently 19 per 1,000 live births, and there are over 80 countries where neonatal mortality rates are higher than 12:1,000.
    • Mortality rates associated with Rh disease and extreme hyperbilirubinemia (EHB) is estimated at 1.4 per 1,000 live births, globally.
    • Nearly all, if not all, of these deaths are preventable, as evidenced by the fact that in high-income countries, mortality rate associated with these conditions is 0.01 per 1,000 live births. (See chart)


  • We believe a lack of affordable, effective phototherapy devices in poor countries to be a significant factor in this disparity of health outcomes.1
  • Achieving equal access to phototherapy devices that treat jaundice caused by Rh disease and EHB—e.g., through support of D-Rev and its Newborn Health (Brilliance) project—will therefore contribute to bringing neonatal mortality to at least as low as 12 per 1,000 in all countries.2

What about disabilities (morbidity)—don’t they matter?

Absolutely. While the SDG health targets are focused on mortality measures (i.e., preventable deaths), elsewhere, the SDGs specially identify the disabled (80% of whom live in poverty) as a group requiring attention and solutions. (See SDGs 4.5, 11.2, 11.7.) The emphasis here is particularly on social inclusion and economic opportunity. This puts D-Rev’s Mobility project, in particular, squarely in alignment with the goals.

That said, D-Rev believes that morbidity is an underappreciated driver of poverty and inequality, so we aim to reduce both mortality and morbidity through our products—whether through prevention (phototherapy) or after-care (prosthetics).

We hope you are as excited as we are for this new global push for health and the elimination of poverty, and D-Rev’s role in it.

1 Research that D-Rev conducted with Stanford University in 2010 showed, for instance, that only 4% of public hospitals and private rural hospitals in Nigeria and India had adequate and sufficient devices to treat neonatal jaundice, and only 20% percent of private urban hospitals had the devices they needed.

2 While morbidity is not explicitly addressed in the SDG targets, D-Rev is also achieving impact on that front. Worldwide, morbidity rates due to Rh disease and EHB were 71 disabilities per 1,000 live births in 2010. For developing countries, the rate was 76:1,000. We know, however, that the rate can be brought down to at least as low as 10:1,000, since that has been the rate in high-income countries.

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