The World Health Organisation (WHO) is developing a virtual marketplace that will connect Africa’s health-oriented innovators to government ministry officials, business leaders and investors.
The launch of the platform will follow an event known as the ‘WHO Innovation Challenge’, which is gearing up to formally announce its 30 Finalists at a gathering dubbed the Africa Health Forum in Cabo Verde, a country located on an archipelago off the north-west coast of Africa.
The top 30 health-oriented innovations selected from a field of more than 2,400 entries to the first-ever WHO Innovation Challenge will be formally recognised on the opening day of the second WHO Africa Health Forum in Praia, Cabo Verde, on the 26th of March, 2019.
The WHO Innovation Challenge received a total of 2,471 applications in just four weeks from 77 countries – 44 of which are in Africa. A panel of independent evaluators assessed and profiled the innovations in terms of the potential for making impact as well as ability to be scaled up in a sustainable way. More than a third of the submissions came from women.
“The extent of response from the Innovation Challenge affirms the enthusiasm, especially among young people, to make a difference and contribute to the health care system on the continent,” said Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa.
“Health innovators have found a new home at WHO, where their innovative ideas will be supported in partnership with our network of stakeholders,” Dr. Moeti added.
In addition to showcasing the 30 best-profiled innovations during the three-day WHO Africa Health Forum in Cabo Verde, other innovations that were submitted will be exhibited on a dynamic virtual marketplace platform currently under development.
Once fully operational, the platform will connect diverse stakeholders, ranging from government ministry officials and health experts to academics, business angels and investors to support further development and the scaling up of these ideas.
Among all the applications received, 639 made it through to the evaluation phase. This reflects the challenges that innovators face in making progress from ideas to development and eventual broad-based application of their solutions.
The WHO stated that investments in the innovation ecosystem that are complemented by innovation-friendly policies remain critical is creating solutions to solve Africa’s health challenges.
In this regard, some of the top 30 health-oriented innovations include projects such as a method for Chlorine Production Using Solar Energy; a Youth Friendly Health Service; and a National Ambulance Service, among others.