• Competitions
  • Innovation Fellows Competition closes in two days

    Philips Africa has partnered with the Innovation Hub in Pretoria to launch the first South African Innovation Fellows Competition tasked with helping to unlock technological innovations produced locally. “We believe that everyone has the potential to change the way we live for the better,” says JJ van Dongen, senior vice-president and CEO of Philips Africa in the Innovation competition article. “There are many budding entrepreneurs out there armed with what may turn out to be the next big idea that will go on to make a real difference to the current challenges experienced within the local healthcare sector.”

    The South African Innovation Fellows competition aims to unlock local talent and address regionally relevant challenges in healthcare. Innovators stand a chance of winning R200 000 as a research & development budget for their next big idea in improving access to primary healthcare. Van Dongen believes innovation is a catalyst for economic development and will be one of the key factors that play a leading role in boosting the competitiveness of South Africa’s economy.

    Meaningful innovation ideas need to address one of the following themes to be considered.

    ICT solutions to improve access to healthcare Solutions to improve care delivery Healthcare imaging for low resource settings utilizing smartphones Diagnostic tools for low resource settings Innovations for healthy living for mother and child.

    Interested participants can register here and submit their #nextbigidea in word or PDF format covering the following topics:

    The challenge being addressed The technology solution The social impact expected.

    Philips and the Innovation Hub, Pretoria, will announce five finalists on Wednesday, 30 September 2015. Entries will be evaluated and judged by the Philips Innovation Fellowship Adjudication Steering Committee. If your idea is selected, you will be contacted directly to move on to the next phase of the competition.

  • Venture Bus Tours supporting ICT innovation in Africa

    Applications for the USA-based Venture Bus Tours in Africa are now open. For the third year in a row, Ampion will run its pan-African startup competition. The initiative provides on the road support to entrepreneurs by paring them with experienced mentors from leading tech centres in Africa and globally to develop ICT solutions for the African market. An article in IT News Africa says 40 new companies are expected to come out of this year’s Venture Bus Tour. Last year, Ampion received more than 2000 applicants from 43 countries.

    For 2015, the five Ampion Venture Buses will cross 14 African countries. Each tour culminates at a Grand Final as part of continent’s most renowned tech conferences, such as DEMO Africa, Nigeria, AfricaCom, South Africa and the Transform Africa Summit in Rwanda. Along the road, the Venture Bus and its participants visit all major tech and startup-communities in each region to hold local events and link up with thousands of Africa’s most promising ICT talents.

    This year, Ampion’s partnering with corporate and public partners to select a focus topic for each Venture Bus. In East, West and Southern Africa, one of these topics is citizen engagement and democratic participation through ICT. In West and East Africa the focus is on financial-tech and modern banking. In East Africa, the focus it’s eHealth and healthcare innovation. The Southern African Venture Bus will focus on hardware development.

    These innovations are already having an impact in African countries. One of the winners of the 2014 tour is Halt Ebola, an app enabling rural population to receive and exchange vital healthcare information through voice messages and robo-calls in their tribal language. Given the Ebola situation in West Africa, this innovation can fill a gap and provide a real solution to an African problem. It looks as thought there’ll be many more healthcare innovations out of this year’s tour. 

  • Kenya's Totohealth wins Innovation Awards at Connected East Africa

    Kenya’s start up Totohealth, which uses SMS technology to help reduce maternal mortality, child mortality and predict developmental disabilities in children, has won the Innovations Awards at the Connected East Africa event. The annual award recognizes and celebrates Kenyan start-ups that have developed ICT solutions that drive economic growth and social development. An article in Africa Healthcare IT News says Totohealth beat 586 applicants to win the overall award. It also and also won the Healthcare Delivery category.

    Some 7,700 women die each year in Kenya from pregnancy-related complications. Totohealth hopes to address this with its affordable and innovative mHealth solution. It aims to help parents by sending them SMSs with dates for important vaccinations, signs and milestones in the child’s health, dispel myths, give nutritional advice, teach parents on reproductive health, referrals to the right doctors and clinics near them and connect mothers with local hospitals says Pivot East. Users will receive timely guidance and evident-based approaches to improve the health of pregnant mothers.

    The startup founded by Felix Kimaru, Victoria Nyakundi and Joseph Murgor in March 2014, has grown substantially since its launch. It already has nine hospitals and two organisations that it helps to improve health outcomes. More than 4,600 mothers and fathers have also signed up for the service.

    Soon after its launch, Totohealth entered the PIVOT East, East Africa’s startup pitching competition and conference and emerged the 1st runner up in the mobile society category. Through PIVOT East, Totohealth had an opportunity for incubation at m:lab East Africa which provided space for its initiative to develop further. The start-up has also partnered with University of Helsinki to produce a video. Next, Totohealth plans to expand the service into the rest of Africa.

  • Botswana's Black Oak wins mHealth Innovation Competition

    The winner of this year’s Youth mHealth Innovation event in Gaborone was Black Oak. Its team was Hortantia Tebogo, Kelly Sorinyane and Florence Chilisa. The Tswana Times says they developed a system to enable access to accurate, up to date and complete information about patients from EHRs. It allows access to patient records from any location either from the cloud or QR code, an array of black and white squares used to store wed addresses as URLs or other information that smartphone cameras can read.

    The event was again supported by Orange Botswana. All Africa has a report on the event too, and says that Dr Kabelo Mokgacha from the Botswana Ministry of Health encouraged innovators to adopt a set of standards for their mHealth projects:

    Easy to use Effective Medically accurate Valid Sound.

    These should lead to increasing collaboration between physicians and their communities that are essential for successful mHealth product development. Despite these, the lack of a common language for mHealth will continue to limit efforts to identify, catalogue and synthesise evidence needed for extensive mHealth adoption. Botswana is developing an eHealth Strategy and mHealth Enterprise Framework to help with these. It’s seen as advancing mHealth along initiatives in other African countries such as Rwanda and Kenya. Alongside these, Dr Mokgacha urged Botswana’s youth to use global mHealth developments as a source of inspiration.

    Ms Lepata Mafa, Director of Corporate Affairs at Orange Botswana was clear that technology is a vital part of social development.  In Botswana, there are plenty of opportunities to develop mobile technologies for a wide range of economic and social benefits.

    Congratulations to Black Oak. It will now have access to the Orange technical platform API gateway to host its mHealth service and complete tests on its applications before its launched. eHNA’s looking forward to hearing more about its mHealth initiatives.

  • Uganda's mTrac an AfDB eHealth winner

    Uganda’s MOH has partnered with UNICEF to create mTrac, one of ten winners of the 2013 AfDB’s eHealth awards. Their Rapid-SMS-based health tool is designed to strengthen the Ugandan health system by speeding up response times and bolstering accountability.

    mTrac operates in over 75% of health facilities with national coverage expected during 2014. It is recognized internationally for real time monitoring of diseases, tracking of essential medicines, and improving health service delivery.

    The initiative was launched in 2011 in an effort to improve Health Management Information Systems (HMIS) reporting on disease surveillance and medicine tracking systems for Uganda’s 5,000 health facilities.

    Health Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda said in a joint statement that “mTrac addresses a crucial need of the Ministry of Health, ensuring that accurate, real-time information from every health facility is available to national and local government stakeholders for action.”

    AfDB’s eHealth award encourages sharing of knowledge, solutions and experiences about eHealth in Africa. It promotes collaboration between countries and regions to improve eHealth development and implementation. Winners are examples of the practical, sustained, transferable benefits that eHealth can offer.