About us

Our vision

A world where access to essential medical technologies is universal

Our mission

The EssentialMed Foundation is committed to developing and deploying effective, high quality and affordable medical devices, adapted to the needs of impoverished communities across the globe.

Our strategy

EssentialMed endeavors to achieve a radical improvement to the cost-benefit paradigm of medical devices. This new approach requires innovation at all the levels of the value chain in order to maximize the impact in terms of Global Health, focusing on downstream benefits rather than upstream earnings.

Beyond the continuation of our current projects, our current strategy targets four objectives: Organizational development, Coordination between our different projects and partners, Impact measurement of our projects, Funding and further development of our Foundation. We work on these projects and objectives following the same methodology we have always adopted, based on cooperation with relevant stakeholders.

Please reach out to us for a more detailed description of our strategy.

Our history

The history of the EssentialMed Foundation started when Klaus Schönenberger, then working for a medical device company, realized how much low and middle-income countries were disregarded as markets and their population was under-served.

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Our foundation board

  • Dr. Guy Morin, president
    • Dr. Morin is a medical doctor by training, and is a former member of the executive council of the state of Basel-Stadt.

  • Prof. Marcel Tanner
    • Prof. Tanner has been director of the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (SwissTPH) from 1997 to 2015. He is currently president of the Swiss Academy of Arts and Science, and Prof. emeritus of epidemiology and parasitology at the University of Basel, among other activities.

  • Prof. Sophia Haussener
    • Prof. Haussener is an EPFL professor in the field of renewable energies. She is also co-founder of a startup company developing a system of localized renewable energy generation.

  • Dr. Gérard Escher
    • Dr. Escher holds a PhD in biology. Beyond his academic career, he served as scientific advisor to the federal secretariat of state and to the president of EPFL.

  • Ms. Rebecca Stevens-Alder
    • Ms. Stevens-Alder is a Global Health specialist. Among other, she worked for Novartis for 15 years, managing various partnership positions.

  • Mr. William Egbe
    • Mr. Egbe holds an MBA and spent his career working at leadership positions for several multinational companies throughout the world, culminating as president of Coca-Cola Africa. Mr. Egbe has also been involved in several philanthropic organisations, such as Chairman of the Coca-Cola Foundation Africa.

  • Dr. Alex Dépraz
    • Dr. Dépraz is a lawyer by training, currently vice-president at the court of the state of Vaud.

  • Ms. Marie Ivorra-Grosse
    • Ms. Ivorra-Grosse is an engineer by training. She spent her career in the industry, first as project manager and then as CEO. MS. Ivora-Grosse now serves on the board of several technology-oriented companies.

Our executive team

  • Dr. Klaus Schönenberger, CEO, Co-founder
    • Dr. Klaus Schönenberger has been working on the creation of EssentialMed since 2009 and was appointed director of the foundation in 2010 when it has been formally founded. He obtained an Ms Degree in Microengineering and a PhD form the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL) in 1996. After one year as a post-doctoral research fellow at the Medical Technology Program, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore (USA), he joined the medical devices industry where he then spend 10 years. Dr. Schönenberger started his industrial career as Project Manager at Compex Medical SA in Switzerland. During his tenure at Compex, he moved into leading management roles, overseeing worldwide R&D, Operations, Quality and Regulatory Affairs. Dr. Schönenberger has held various leading positions in larger medical devices companies like Global Vice-President of Research and Development at Rehabilicare Inc., Minneapolis ($100M in revenue, 500 employees) and Global Vice-president of Electrotherapy Innovation at Reable Therapeutics Inc. (Global turnover $500M). In 2011 he joined EPFL to launch EssentialTech, a program directed at developing technologies and business models to fight poverty. The role he held until he left industry to start the EssentialMed Foundation, was Global Vice-President of Research and Technology at DJO, LLC., Vista, California (Global turnover close to $1B. ~5000 employees). In that position he was responsible for creating a strategic vision for each core technology of the company (Technology Roadmapping) and he was a member of the company’s Business Development Team, in charge of the aspects related to technology.

  • Dr. Solomzi Makohliso, CSO
    • Dr. Solomzi Makohliso is the Deputy Leader of the EssentialTech Program at EPFL. He is an international entrepreneur with biotechnology industry experience from the United States, Europe, and South Africa. He was also the founder and CEO of Ayanda Biosystems in Switzerland, and a Resident Entrepreneur at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in Pretoria, South Africa. He currently serves on the Swiss National Steering Committee for Bilateral Cooperation in Science & Technology with Africa. Previously, he served as a member of the Biotechnology Advisory Panel for the national Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) in South Africa and was a Member of the Nanotechnology Advisory Board in South Africa. He holds a PhD in Biomaterials from EPFL.

  • Mr. Bertrand Klaiber, COO, co-founder
    • Mr. Klaiber is an experienced business development manager with several achievements in developing new activities in big multinational companies as well as start-ups. He has a solid expertise in consumer electronics and industrial products marketing, innovation management and strategic planning. In 2004, he completed an MBA with honors at the University of Lausanne and then worked as Stategy and Marketing manager at LEM, an international leader in electrical measurement products. In 2010 he was promoted Worldwide Business Development Manager for Energy Solutions at LEM. In 2012 he joined the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL) to launch the EssentialTech program that aims at developing appropriate technologies for impoverished countries. As part of this mandate, he has participated to the creation the University Research Centre on Energy for Healthcare in Cameroon (CURES). After graduating in Electrical engineering at EPFL in 1994, Mr. Klaiber worked for 10 years as an electronics engineer and project manager for Motorola Semiconductors, Smartdata and Logitech.

  • Dr. Beat Stoll, CMO, co-founder
    • Dr. Beat Stoll holds a diploma in Medicine from the Medical Faculty of Basel and a diploma in Health Care and Management in Tropical Countries from the Swiss Tropical Institute in Basel, Switzerland. After a MD thesis in Medical speciality of Internal Medicine (FMH) at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland, he achieved a Master in Public Health (MPH) from the University of Geneva in 1996. Then he worked as National Project Coordinator of a Prevention programme in Primary Health Care at the University of Geneva, also being Staff member of the Master in Advanced Studies in Humanitarian Action and Staff member of the Master in Advanced Studies in Public Health. For more than 10 years he has also been Consultant and teacher for Primary Health Care for the WHO Geneva, the Health Ministry in Cameroon and the Novartis Foundation Mali. From 1985 to 1998, Mr. Stoll practiced internal medicine in various hospitals in Switzerland and Cameroon, also being Joint Chief Medical Officer in Tropical medicine in Bafang, Cameroon.
  • Mr. Matthieu Gani, secretary
    • Mr. Gani holds an MSc. in Electrical Engineering and has worked for over 10 years in the development of medical devices for low- and middle-income countries. He has been working with partners in Kenya, Cameroon, Guinea (Conakry) and Burkina Faso, both in the medical and technical fields, as well as with public, private and NGO/IO institutions.

Please see also our latest annual reports on our Resources page.