The World Health Organisation (WHO) Africa Region on Thursday launched the first WHO Africa Innovation Challenge calling for health innovations with the potential for having significant social impact.
The initiative that also seeks to address the unmet health needs of the continent took place in Brazzaville, Congo.
The Challenge, according to the organisers, will prioritise innovative and scalable healthcare solutions for selection. The three submission categories are Product, Service and Social Innovation.
Entries will be assessed by a panel of independent evaluators based on the innovation’s potential impact on health in Africa as well as the possibility of being replicated or scaled-up.
The WHO regional director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, said the Innovation Challenge recognises the critical need for innovations to address the continent’s challenges in healthcare.
She said the challenge and platform serves as a precursor to the Africa Health Forum to be held in Cape Verde in March 2019, the premier gathering of political and business leaders in the region devoted to health.
“WHO champions the promotion of homegrown solutions to address health challenges in reproductive, maternal and child health, infectious diseases, non-communicable diseases and other key areas”.
She said with the belief that challenge will spark the entrepreneurial spirit of innovators and lead to credible health innovations across the continent.
“The platform will serve as a dynamic marketplace to connect diverse stakeholders such as ministries of various sectors of the government as well as health experts, academics and public and private investors. Qualifying users on the platform will be able to leverage the global network.”
“At this event, they will get the opportunity to exhibit their innovations and meet with top political, government and business leaders in the health space. They will also get a chance to exhibit their solutions at the annual meeting of Ministers of Health from the WHO African Region in August 2019, in Brazzaville, Congo,” she explained.