WHO Innovation Challenge to announce 30 finalists at the Africa Health Forum in Cabo Verde

Health-oriented innovations to meet Africa’s unmet health needs

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 presented on opening day of the second WHO Africa Health Forum in Praia, Cabo Verde, on 26 March 2019.

The WHO Innovation Challenge received a total of 2 471 applications in just four weeks from 77 countries – 44 countries 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 amount 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. Health innovators have found a new home at WHO, where their innovative ideas will be supported in partnership with our network of stakeholders,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa.

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 our dynamic virtual marketplace platform currently under development. When 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 is a reflection of the challenges that innovators face in making progress from ideas to development and eventual broad-based application of their solutions. Investments in the innovation ecosystem that are complemented by innovation-friendly policies remain critical for further encouraging and supporting development of innovative solutions to solve Africa’s health challenges.