While the experience of the average Nigerian with several sectors of the economy has evolved through the use of technology over the past decade, there has been minimal impact on the health sector. This guest post describes an initiative that intends to change that.
By Alex Chiejina
Many incubation and innovation platforms in Nigeria target information technology for finance, agriculture and e-commerce, but very few platforms focusing on health innovation/technology in healthcare delivery. While groups in African countries like Malawi, Uganda and Ethiopia have developed locally appropriate health technologies and innovations such as m-Health apps to improve health outcomes, the low application of innovation and technology in healthcare remains a missed opportunity in transforming healthcare delivery in Nigeria.
In an attempt to galvanize Nigerians into action in this space, the Private Sector Health Alliance of Nigeria’s Nigeria Health Innovation Marketplace is calling on innovators, techies, academic institutions, private sector companies, businesses, civil society, clinicians, researchers, NGOs and individuals to apply in the $1million Health Innovation Challenge (video).
The Health Innovation Challenge (HIC), is a multi-stage competition whose primary focus is to spur a broader range of innovations (process, technology, market, service delivery) to respond to specific health sector challenges that will have both a social impact [progress in health indices] and/or commercial viability and scalability.
Dr. Muntaqa Umar-Sadiq, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the Alliance, says that “the Health Innovation Challenge seeks to improve health outcomes and mitigate health market failures through deploying technology and process solutions to the health sector”. In order to find out what problems Nigerians are facing in the health sector, the Alliance engaged with people in all six geopolitical zones and developed health systems problem statements that summarized these challenges. Problem statements ranged from service delivery around newborn care to the development of forecasting models for infectious diseases. These are some of the challenges that the HIC hopes to confront with the solutions that will be developed.
Prizes will go towards the implementation of innovations as grants as well as to reward innovators for their grand efforts in cash prizes. The award categories include several US$100,000, US$50,000 and US$30,000 grants.
Innovators who are shortlisted in the first stage will go on to the next stage of the challenge, which requires them to submit comprehensive business plans. The second stage will be preceded by a multi-day boot camp where subject matter experts will provide them with sector specific and business support to develop their business plans. These will be submitted to a review panel and defended in live presentations made to an expert panel of judges. Winners of the challenge will pilot or implement their innovations for a period of 12 months. The awards will be disbursed based on outcomes, with tranches of payments triggered by achievement of certain technical and operational performance measures.
The Alliance has put together a technical assistance team of core health and business subject matter experts to support the implementation process and drive results. Applicants can apply and respond via the official portal for the competition at http://nhim.phn.ng/competitions. To showcase a promising innovation on the Health Innovation Hub/Virtual portal, please register at www.nhim.phn.ng/user/register.
The Private Sector Health Alliance of Nigeria is Nigeria’s foremost private sector platform, which aims at mobilizing business leaders and corporate entities towards leveraging their collective capabilities, expertise and resources in a bid to accelerate improvements in health outcomes. The founding board includes Alhaji Aliko Dangote (Founding Patron), Mr Jim Ovia and Dr Muhammad Ali Pate (Co-Chairs) as well as Mr Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, Mrs Sola-David Borha and Dr Muntaqa Umar-Sadiq.
For more information on the Private Sector Health Alliance, the Nigeria Health Innovation Marketplace and Health Innovation Challenge, kindly visit: