Social Innovation in Health Initiative

Social Innovation in Health Initiative; Now more than ever new innovative solutions are required to allow all people access to quality healthcare. However, there already is an abundance of existing solutions that have been developed and implemented by people and organisations in different contexts and environments. Many of these solutions have had a significant impact on the care delivered to the local community.

The Social Innovation in Health Initiative is a collaboration of the University of Cape Town and the University of Oxford, with technical and financial support from the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR) at the World Health Organization (WHO). We are united by our passion to transform healthcare delivery in the Global South through innovation. We are launching this initiative with three aims:

  • To identify grass roots innovative solutions that have been impactful in improving healthcare delivery
  • To learn from the dedicated individuals responsible for their creation and implementation, and thus foster a better understanding of these solutions.
  • To support healthcare innovators grow and scale their work across contexts and regions

    For the 2015 Social Innovation in Health Initiative, we will be focussing on the pressing need of people affected by Neglected Tropical Diseases and infectious diseases such as malaria and tuberculosis. Globally, 3 billion people are at risk of these diseases and every year 500 000 people will die from NTDs, 627 000 from malaria and 1.1 million people from tuberculosis.

    Another vast consequence of these diseases is how they perpetuate the cycle of poverty by leading to debilitating chronic conditions that impedes an individual’s economic productivity. In children, these infections result in malnutrition, cognitive impairment, stunted growth and an inability to attend school. In pregnant mothers, anaemia results in poor birth outcomes.

    Now is the time for us as a global community of innovators to cast the spotlight on these diseases and highlight high impact solutions that have been able to improve the care delivered to people affected by neglected tropical and infectious diseases.

    Over the next year, we will be searching for innovative solutions across three continents. Through an open nomination opportunity, all organisations who have successfully developed and implemented an innovative solution can become part of this process. An expert review panel will support us in selecting the 25 most impactful solutions and we will be crossing the globe to visit each of the remarkable creators and implementers of these solutions.

    This project will deepen our collective understanding of how healthcare can be improved at a grassroots level and raise the awareness and exposure of people who have been doing so.

    In December 2015, a flagship publication Social Innovation in Healthcare Delivery published with TDR, WHO will be released featuring all 25 innovative solutions.We hope that this publication will inform and inspire a global audience. We will also be inviting some of our featured innovators to join us in Geneva for a convening with international policy makers.

    The initiative extends to allow us to go even further and support the organisations responsible for these solutions. As often expressed to us by people working at grassroots level, there is a need to connect with policy makers. This initiative presents an opportunity to do so.

    Organisations will be selected to become part of the first Global Health Innovators Fellowship Programme at the University of Oxford and the University of Cape Town. This tailored fellowship will provide practical support to organisations to grow and scale their work broader within their country or to other countries.

    As we set off on this journey, we would like to extend the invitation to you to join us. Your help and support in guiding us to where solutions are in your country or context will be valuable. Together we can improve healthcare globally.

    The Social Innovation in Health Initiative provides people and organisations from all backgrounds, countries and sectors the opportunity to share their solutions that have improved health care delivery. The focus of the Initiative is on infectious diseases of poverty, including neglected tropical diseases, malaria and tuberculosis.

    Below are some answers to questions you may have:

    Can I nominate myself/ my organisation?

    If you are an individual (health worker, student, entrepreneur, designer, technologist, community member) or an organisation (not-for-profit, for-profit, government) who has developed and implemented a solution in your country that has been operational for at least 1 year, please complete the nomination form here.

    How can you tell us about a solution you know about?

    If you know of an individual or organisation who have successfully implemented a solutions, please tell us about it.

    Complete our online form here and share the name and contact details. We will get in touch with them.

    What kind of innovations are we looking for?

    The 2015 Initiative focus is on innovative solutions that have improved healthcare delivery for people affected by neglected tropical diseases, malaria and tuberculosis. These solutions could be:

  • A product
  • A process
  • A practice

  • A new service
  • A novel market mechanism

  • A platform
  • A diverse organisational form
  • A novel business-model

    To improve the care delivered to these diseases, we recognise a whole range of other inputs may be needed. We are thus open to any innovation which has the potential to improve care for these diseases even if not directly addressing them.

    Please Note: We are very interested in social innovations that have improved care delivery and not in pure medical or scientific innovations such as drugs, vaccines or devices. Our focus is to find these types of innovations operating at grassroots and district level, developed by people from within the context.

    What areas are we searching in?

    We are searching for solutions implemented across the Global South – any country located in Africa, Asia and South America.

    What must be the disease-focus of the solution?

    We are looking for solutions in healthcare delivery. These solutions could be targeted at any of the 17 known NTDs, malaria or TB. If your solution is not directly affecting these diseases, we still want to hear about them, but please tell us about how they could be applicable to improving infectious disease care.

    What are our selection criteria?

    An international review panel comprised of experts in infectious diseases, public health and innovation, will be reviewing your submitted nomination.

    The solutions will be scored according to the criteria below:

  • Appropriateness: The solution addresses a healthcare delivery challenge that deals specifically with infectious diseases or could be applicable to one or more such diseases.
  • Innovativeness: The solution is new, different or a significant improvement within the context it is being applied.
  • Inclusiveness: The solution has the potential to be used by a large number of people, enhancing equity and access.
  • Affordability: The solution is affordable by the poor and/or otherwise excluded in the local context.
  • Effectiveness: The solution has a proven positive outcome on the health of the local population.
  • Scalability: Within and across cultural, resource and environmental contexts, the solution can be applied to reach many more people.
  • Sustainability: The financial and organizational aspects of the solution are viable in the medium and long term.
    For more information visit: Social Innovation in Health Initiative
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