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World Health Organisation (WHO) Africa Innovation Challenge 2019

The World Health Organization (WHO) in the African Region has launched the first WHO Africa Innovation Challenge calling for health innovations, researchers and community-based initiatives including, youths and women with the potential for having significant social impact and addressing the unmet health needs on the continent.

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 to be held in Cape Verde in March 2019, the premier gathering of political and business leaders in the region devoted to health.

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WHO Africa Innovation Challenge Categories.

Solutions that will be considered should be broadly categorized as either product or technological innovations, process or service innovations or social innovations. WHO AFRO recognises that a single solution may apply to more than one of the categories but applicants must choose the category that suits the best strength for their solution.

  • Product or Technological innovations: Activities that contribute to the research, development and design of new products or to improving existing products, and that generate new technological knowledge for adoption by the marketplace e.g. medicines, products, supplies, infrastructure, mHealth, etc.
  • Process or service innovations: Refer to the implementation of a new or significantly improved production or delivery method e.g. innovative financing mechanism etc.
  • Social innovations: Are new strategies and organizations that meet social needs of all kinds, from working conditions and education to community development and health, that extend and strengthen civil society e.g. community health initiatives, health workforce etc

WHO Africa Innovation Challenge Eligibility.

  • Open to solutions that are:
    • African-Relevant: Solutions that are 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
    • Innovative: Solutions that address one or more problems in a new and different way often through a simpler and more effective means that is novel
    • Scalable: Solutions that are realistic and have the capability and potential to be enlarged and replicated
  • Open to individuals, teams, for-profit, non-profit entities (including hybrid entities i.e. social enterprises), academic institutions or research institutions
  • Entrants are not required to be formally registered in order to qualify for the Challenge
  • Applicants must be:
    • Africa nationals residing in Africa or outside of Africa; or
    • Foreign nationals either based in Africa or, if not based in Africa, then working with an African-based entity.

WHO Africa Innovation Challenge Benefits.

  • 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.

How to Apply for WHO Africa Innovation Challenge.

Interested candidates who meet the criteria listed above should apply by clicking on the “Apply” button below:


Applications must be submitted online and will close on Monday 10 December 2018 at midnight (GMT+1).

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