Since the beginning of the 21st century, the international society has worked hard to resolve numerous social issues including poverty and inequality setting specific goals in form of Millennium Development Goals and Sustainable Development Goals. “Sustainability” was the value that was emphasized and align with this is the appropriate technology. Appropriate technology refers to a technology that suits the “social and economic conditions of the geographic area in which it is to be applied”. This technology is also environmentally sound and is sustainable as it is self-sufficient.
The fact that appropriate technology provides the local communities with sustainable solutions to deal with their problems makes it valuable. To add, although not necessarily advanced than modern technology, local people can easily make use of this technology with already existing knowledge and experience thereby solving immediate problems. Also, as it is decentralized the technology can be spread easily within the community. Another merit of appropriate technology is that it is environmentally friendly. Instead of fossil fuels, renewable resources are mainly used in this technology including energy from water, sun, and wind. Especially it is helpful in developing countries considering the fact that “it is challenging to transfer technologies used in developed countries to developing countries in sustainable ways because the socio-economic and cultural conditions are different” as mentioned by United Nations.
The appropriate technology was used during the pandemic especially in the field of health as well. The first example is the ventilator. The usual ventilator that uses proportional valves and flow sensors to control the pressure differences is expensive to create. However, with an increasing number of patients during COVID-19, a low-cost ventilator design was needed to deal with them. A prototype ventilator based on “on-off valves” was created by a group of researchers at Imperial College London. Unlike proportional valves, these on-off valves are easily available. This ventilator uses four on–off solenoid valves, a two-litre reservoir, an oxygen sensor, and two mechanical pressure sensors. Instead of pressurized gas supplies that cannot be supplied sustainably in low-resource settings like in developing countries, it utilizes a portable home-use oxygen concentrator.
Another example is the low-cost COVID-19 vaccine called “NDV-HXP-S” which uses chicken eggs similar to influenza vaccines. As its ingredients are easy to acquire, they can be produced in large quantities. Moreover, this vaccine is easier to afford especially in developing countries compared to Pfizer and Moderna, which have to be produced in specialized factories using ingredients that are hard to acquire. The way to store and distribute these vaccines is also less difficult considering that they can be stored at 2-8 Celsius. Currently, this vaccine is regarded as a “new promising economical vaccine” and it is under clinical trials in numerous countries including n Vietnam and Thailand with plans for Brazil. If proven of its safety, not only middle-income countries but also developing countries would be able to deal with pandemics more efficiently and citizens would be able to get the vaccination at a low cost.