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UNGA 2020 - HIEx presents: “The Moon-Shot: Harnessing Space Technology for Health”


With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to robustly challenge the fragile health systems of countries around the world, the provision of health services benefitting the health outcomes and well-being of individuals around the world has become an existential goal for many. It is without a doubt that to achieve SDG3 – Good Health and Wellbeing, a multi-sectoral approach along with disruptive technologies and disruptive approaches, all will be immensely critical. In recent years, there has an been an increasing interest from UN member states to use space applications for sustainable development, especially in order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Humanity’s interest in space exploration has fostered countless examples of space-developed technologies that have since found beneficial uses on Earth. As space applications continue to benefit countries at various income levels and regardless of whether they have their own space agencies and space programs, highlighting the immense potential space technologies provide towards being redesigned for applications on Earth, there is an important question to ask: how can we use the technology and innovation that has rapidly increased the boundaries of space exploration, to help provide affordable and accessible healthcare all across the Earth?


On the margins of the UN General Assembly 2020, The Health Innovation Exchange was pleased to bring forward the following event: “The Moon-Shot: Harnessing space-tech for global health”. Moderated by Pradeep Kakkattil, Director of the Office of Innovations at UNAIDS, the virtual event featured a series of conversations with key leaders in the space and health-tech industry on the role of space technologies in accelerating sustainable development and applications of space science and technology towards achieving SDG3.





Throughout the discussion, the panelists deep dive into first-hand accounts of their experience in leveraging space exploration related innovations towards terrestrial advancements and the potential these innovations have towards increased provision of accessible and affordable healthcare through telemedicine, telecommunication, long distance education systems, connectivity, autonomous systems and etc.


With panelists from national space agencies, aerospace manufacturers, intergovernmental space organisations, venture capital firms and technology companies from around the world, the participants focus in on the current opportunities and challenges towards aggregating equity, access and speed together to ensure accessible and affordable healthcare to all. The panelists also elaborate into the hidden role of space technology, moving away from the rockets and satellites and into the methodologies and the processes involved with space exploration, learnings that can potentially influence best practices for terrestrial applications and accelerate access to healthcare. 


Space exploration and technology have continued to push the barriers of innovation. With space technology becoming more affordable and widespread than ever before, there was an collective agreement on the necessary requirement of external drivers such as policy support, de-risking investments, ensuring compliance and facilitating public education in order to truly and successfully harness space technology for global health.



Speakers included:


Recording of the virtual event can be found here.