WHO Organises Africa Innovation Challenge to Boost Tech in Healthcare

The World Health Organization (WHO) in the African Region has launched the WHO Africa Innovation Challenge.

This Challenge will prioritize innovative and scalable healthcare solutions for selection in the categories of Product Innovation, Service Innovation, and Social Innovation and will also provide continued support to healthcare innovators through a digital platform in the longer term.

The launch of this Challenge and platform serves as a precursor to the Africa Health Forum in Cape Verde in March 2019; the premier gathering of political and business leaders in the region devoted to health. Finalists will be awarded a sponsored opportunity for their innovations to be showcased at the Africa Health Forum where they will get the opportunity to profile their solutions and meet with top political, government and business leaders in the health space.

According to a notification from CCHub, a foremost technology incubation hub located in Lagos, this Challenge is calling innovators, researchers and community-based initiatives including, youths and women that are working on novel solutions to improve health outcomes and apply new and fresh thinking to address unmet health needs for Africa.

The Challenge, which will entertain online applications submitted before midnight on Monday, December 10, 2018, is open to individuals, teams, for-profit & non-profit social entities, academic or research institutions with solutions that are either Product or Technological innovations; Process or service innovations and Social Innovations.

Solutions into the Challenge are expected to be African-Relevant, meaning that the solution must have been developed in and/or relevant to Africa in addressing one or more health-related problems or applying an innovative approach for delivering solutions in Africa. They should also be innovative and scalable.

The organizers say this Challenge will prioritize innovative and scalable healthcare solutions for selection in the categories of Product Innovation, Service Innovation, and Social Innovation, and will also provide continued support to healthcare innovators through a digital platform.

In addition, applicants to the Challenge must be Africa nationals residing in Africa or outside of Africa; or Foreign nationals either based in Africa or working with an African-based entity.

The launch of this Challenge and platform serves as a precursor to the Africa Health Forum to be held in Cape Verde from March 23 to 24, 2019. Selected finalists will be awarded a sponsored opportunity to attend the Africa Health Forum. At this event, the finalists will get the opportunity to profile their solutions and gain access to political, government and business leaders in the health sector for potential market and investment opportunities. This sponsorship will cover flights, accommodation and exhibition costs of the selected finalists.

Selected finalists will then stand a chance to exhibit their solutions at the 69th Session of the Regional Committee that will take place in August 2019, in Brazzaville. This Regional Committee is a meeting of all African Ministers of Health.

In addition to these events, this initiative will provide continued support to healthcare innovation through a digital platform. This platform will provide up-to-date, informative content and serve as a dynamic marketplace to connect diverse stakeholders such as health ministries, other government health structures, academics, innovators and public and private investors to credible health innovations across the continent. Qualifying users on the platform will be able to leverage the global network.

According to the World Health Organisation, it has witnessed the impact of leveraging technologies and other innovative solutions to address global health and also envisages a surge for the demand for effective and efficient health services and interventions as a result of emerging socio-economic dynamics, which includes burgeoning youth population, rural-urban migration leading to unplanned settlements; epidemiological changes and even climate change. It further notes that there is also increasing pressure on universal access to quality healthcare and the need to lower its cost for the world’s most marginalized citizens and communities. “The African continent is no exception in this regard and this calls for stepping up the pace of progress so as to meet the expected health outcomes.”

 

 

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