Equalize Health

Equalize Health

Equalize Health designs and delivers affordable, innovative medical technologies that protect and transform the lives of the global poor. They recognize that health is a prerequisite to autonomy and self-sufficiency, and strive to address global health inequities.

First product launched
patients treated
jaundice deaths/disabilities averted
amputees fit
Devices sold in

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The problem: lack of access to high-quality, affordable medical devices

When hospitals and clinicians serving the world’s poor can’t treat their patients with the right equipment, the result is enduring illness, suffering, mortality, and an ever-spiraling trap of poverty.

Take jaundice, one of Equalize Health’s focus areas. Jaundice is caused by an excess of bilirubin in the blood. In high-income countries, newborn jaundice is easily treated with phototherapy and rarely leads to kernicterus — a type of preventable brain damage which can occur if severe jaundice goes untreated.

In low- and middle-income countries, however, kernicterus ranks as the seventh leading cause of mortality in newborns. [1] According to an assessment by Stanford University and Equalize Health, over, six million babies with severe jaundice are not receiving adequate treatment. [2] This is because effective phototherapy machines are not nearly as accessible, partly due to costs upwards of US$3,000.


Over six million babies with severe jaundice are not receiving adequate treatment.
Swaddled baby with nose prongs

The solution: create medical technology for everyone

This requires a real, on-the-ground assessment of the needs of emerging markets to support health, productivity, and independence — and then taking action.

Equalize Health’s flagship product, Brilliance, is a high-quality, low-cost phototherapy lamp that uses LED bulbs which do not need replacing. [3] Equalize Health first learned about the need for affordable, quality phototherapy from an Indian doctor who saw babies suffering brain damage and dying from jaundice. It was a problem no one was tackling in a meaningful way. Equalize Health went on to discover many pediatricians and neonatologists ranked this in their top 3-5 needs, and worked to close the gap.

Man sketching D-Rev's Brilliance machine

In 2016, Brilliance was named the “best health innovation to benefit humanity” by the Tech Museum as part of their 15-year retrospective of the social sector.

How Equalize Health works

Equalize Health believes in a world where we all have access to world-class medical treatment, no matter where we live. Sadly, millions of people continue to suffer and die from preventable or treatable conditions. Equalize Health is a not-for-profit medical technology company on a mission to change that.  They identify the biggest gaps and opportunities in health care where tech can do the most good. They design affordable, world-class medical products that work in the toughest circumstances, and they build global partnerships to ensure their products get to those who need them most. Donations to Equalize Health fund their research and development process. This approach allows Equalize Health to scale via the market, rather than rely exclusively on donations to drive their work.

What makes Equalize Health so effective


Equalize Health’s work designing and launching products is done on a modest budget of under US$4 million, with a lean global team of ~25  based in India, Kenya, and USA. Their Brilliance lamp costs US$400–$500, compared to traditional phototherapy devices which cost anywhere from US$1,500–$10,000.

Monitoring and evaluation

An audit from one of our charity evaluators, ImpactMatters, found that Equalize Health has an exceptional research and development process, noting that, “Decisions to implement changes were supported by high-quality data and were arrived at systematically.” [4] [*]

Proven impact

The ImpactMatters audit found “strong clinical evidence” that Equalize Health’s phototherapy device improves respective medical outcomes. Equalize Health’s website includes a regularly updated Impact Dashboard that documents the results across both their newborn and mobility focus areas. [*]

Economic influence

Prices on similar quality phototherapy devices have decreased in markets where Equalize Health has a presence. Their designs often serve as models for others working in global health innovation.


Large government purchases of the Brilliance device make East African countries Equalize Health’s second-largest market after India. In 2018, every public referral hospital with a NICU in Rwanda was outfitted with the Brilliance device through a partnership with the Rwanda Ministry of Health and Paediatric Association. 

Equalize Health’s accountability and sustainability

Equalize Health values accountability and transparency. They requested a rigorous audit by ImpactMatters, receiving high marks in Evidence and Monitoring, and excellent marks in Learning. Their website includes their algorithms for estimating impact as well as regularly-updated impact dashboards. [5] [6] [*]

In line with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, Equalize Health plans to expand its portfolio to a total of 10 products in maternal, newborn, and child health by 2030. While Equalize Health’s products are sold for a profit (which is then reinvested in research and development), they prioritize impact and sustainable scaling over revenue. Equalize Health aims to exit projects once they believe scaling is sustainably on-track to close the global health inequity, which they generally expect to be 5–7 years after product launch. ReMotion, a prosthetic limb for above-the-knee amputees, is one of those success stories.

Recognition for Equalize Health

Equalize Health’s partners include Stanford University School of Medicine, USAID, UKaid, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

In 2016, they was named laureate in the Health category of The Tech Awards, where the Silicon Valley-based Tech Museum recognized Equalize Health (formerly D-Rev) as the “best of the best” for the benefit its technology brings to Humanity. [7] They were also named one of Fast Company’s 50 Most Innovative Companies in 2013 and recognized as a World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer. [8]

Frequently Asked Questions

Equalize Health uses donor dollars for product research and development, and impact assessment. Supporting this type of early-stage product development work means your impact per dollar is especially meaningful. You are helping to assess real-world needs articulated by frontline doctors, nurses, and health administrations, and then create real-world solutions.

Equalize Health’s model allows market need and assessment to drive its work, rather than donor dollars supporting products that may not end up effective in their design or in addressing healthcare gaps. That said, if a donor has a particular interest in subsidizing device costs for a particular project, they are welcome to contact Equalize Health to discuss possible options.

Equalize Health focuses on preventable death and disability for mothers, newborns, and children. The two new devices currently in development address newborn respiratory support and newborn nutrition.

Equalize Health uses the Global Burden of Disease database to find which disease areas most affect the poor, then does extensive research with target users (doctors, nurses, key opinion leaders, policy makers, etc.) to understand their priorities and their complaints. [9]

The Brilliance device can last for 20 years.

We recommend Equalize Health because they received a high score on an “Impact Audit” conducted made by  ImpactMatters, one of the charity evaluators we have historically used to inform our recommendations. Impact Matters has subsequently been acquired by Charity Navigator and no longer uses the “Impact Audit” model.

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All photos and videos courtesy of Equalize Health.

[1] The Lancet, Neonatal hyperbilirubinaemia: a global perspective 

[2] D-Rev and Stanford University, Global Burden and Unmet Need for Hyperbilirubinaemia Treatment

[3] Equalize Health website

[4] Impact Matters, 2013–2015 D-Rev Impact Audit

[5] D-Rev, Step-by-step: How D-Rev Calculates the Impact of Brilliance

[6] Equalize Health, Impact Dashboard

[7] The Tech Interactive, Tech Awards 2016 Laureates

[8] Fast Company, Most Innovative Companies 2013

[9] Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, Global Burden of Disease home

[*] ImpactMatters has been one of the charity evaluators we have historically used to inform our recommendations. Impact Matters has subsequently been acquired by Charity Navigator and no longer uses the “Impact Audit” model we used as a basis for our recommendations.