Innovation is a key driver of development that potentially expands the availability of high-quality healthcare and people’s access to it. However, the benefits of innovation have been distributed unevenly, and have largely failed to narrow the health equity gap. Innovation has traditionally been seen as invention and development of new technologies, but technological innovation brings little benefit unless it is intimately linked to social innovations.

In April 2016, in conjunction with the sixth edition of the biennial Geneva Health Forum dedicated in that year to Sustainable and Affordable Innovations in Healthcare, GHEF presented a session on the topic of Innovation and Equity in Health. The purpose of this mini-symposium session was to draw attention of the Forum participants and the global health community at large to the urgent need for the equity-conscious research and innovation policies and practices. Presentations and moderated discussion at the session emphasized the critical importance of equity concerns in developing and introducing innovations in health and healthcare that contribute to enhancing health for all, achieving Sustainable Development Goals and universal health coverage.