30 January 2014

Health innovators honoured with new awards

The Inclusive Health Innovation Initiative (IHII), a collaboration between the UCT Graduate School of Business and UCT Faculty of Health, celebrates healthcare champions who are making a difference in the SA healthcare sector.

Seven extraordinary South African healthcare projects in five categories were honoured at a special function today on the first day of the Inclusive Innovation Healthcare Summit in Cape Town.

The seven have been singled out for having developed innovative healthcare solutions in the face of serious challenges that are helping to increase access to health and improving health outcomes for patients, while also reducing costs.

The seven category winners are featured alongside several other finalists in the inaugural Health Innovators Review – a new publication published by the Inclusive Healthcare Innovation Initiative (IHII). The IHII is a joint initiative of the UCT Graduate School of Business and the UCT Faculty of Health, which has been established to explore solutions that can improve the delivery of healthcare in Africa in an inclusive, effective and affordable manner.

Dr Francois Bonnici, Director of the Bertha Centre for Social Innovation, which is the driving force behind the IHII, said that all the projects featured in the Review bode well for the future of healthcare in the country,

“These projects are a testament that the SA healthcare system, while embattled, is filled with passionate and committed South Africans who have seen opportunities where others have perceived only challenges and constraints,” he said.

In July 2013 the Inclusive Health Innovation Initiative issued an open call for nominations of existing healthcare solutions developed by South Africans for South Africa. Over 100 nominations were received from across the country. An External Review Panel of local and international experts in medicine, global public health, innovation and design reviewed these based on whether the solutions were: (i) inclusive in equity and access; (ii) effective in improving health outcomes and (iii) affordable by being efficient or reducing cost.

“They selected a collection of remarkable health workers, social entrepreneurs and initiatives to feature in this first edition of the Health Innovators Review,” said Dr Lindi Van Niekerk, Health Innovation Lead at the Bertha Centre for Social Innovation. “Each solution is proof of the determination of South Africans not to accept the status quo, but to use their creative ability and relentless drive to deliver better healthcare to those who need it most. These innovators are not waiting for rockstars, superheroes or leaders to come and fix healthcare. Instead, they have successfully reimagined an alternative narrative of what healthcare could be in South Africa.”

Category Award winners in the 2014 Health Innovator Awards are:

1. Collaboratively reimagining care
Operation Sukuma Sakhe & Electronic Continuity of Care  [joint award]

2. Transforming Inside out
Parents Guidance & Afritox  [joint award]

3. New approaches delivering value
Keth Impilo

4. Minding the Gap

5. Technology Enabling Inclusive Care Delivery
Praekelt Foundation

The Inclusive Innovation Healthcare Summit is currently running in Cape Town and is the first of its kind in Africa. It is also one of the first official events on the World Design Capital 2014 calendar. In recognition of the human-centred approach to design thinking and the World Design Capital 2014, the summit’s theme is “designing solutions, addressing needs”.

The Summit, alongside the awards and other events forms part of the agenda of the IHII to broaden the conversation around healthcare and find new and more innovative ways to “reimagine” healthcare in SA. Dr van Niekerk explains that part of this is to celebrate those who are already doing this and creating the space for their ideas to flourish and, perhaps to be scaled up so that more can benefit from them.

“The complexity of challenges faced in healthcare is calling for different paradigms of thinking and for the co-creation of new innovative solutions,” said Dr Bonnici. “Now more than ever innovation is required to develop solutions that can improve the delivery of healthcare in Africa. These solutions must transcend current challenges in the system to improve health outcomes for patients but also to change the routines, responsibility and values of our healthworkers responsible for delivering the care.”

The IHII is based in the Bertha Centre for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the GSB and in the Department of Medicine at UCT and Groote Schuur Hospital. Support for the initiative has been received from the Department of Science and Technology, the National Department of Health the South African Medical Research Council, and the Technology Innovation Agency.

For more information please consult:

Watch: Inclusive Health Innovation Summit kicks off in Cape Town

Read more: Igniting Healthcare Innovation in Africa


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