IFC launches global health tech challenge to spur innovation in East African

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As part of the World Bank Group (WBG) Global Tech Challenge, IFC, the private sector arm of the WBG, called on health tech innovators from around the world to bring their solutions to the East African market to meet the needs of patients and health care providers in the region.
New technologies and innovative business practices can play a key role in addressing some of the most pressing health care challenges in sub-Saharan Africa, including shortages of skilled doctors and nurses, limited health infrastructure and high cost of care.
At the same time, the region faces longstanding challenges from infectious diseases, and the rapidly growing burden of non-communicable diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
“We are mobilizing global tech by bringing health care innovations that transform lives to the markets with the greatest need,” said William Sonneborn, Senior Director of IFC’s Disruptive Technologies and Funds.
“Bringing together tech innovators and health care providers improves access, affordability, quality and efficiency for underserved populations”.
The TechEmerge Health program will match innovators with more than 20 leading private health care systems in Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia that have already signed up to the program.
The greatest demand, however, lies in new technologies related to patient engagement, clinical records and data analytics, point of care diagnostic tools and quality management, among others.
The open application launched recently invites health technology innovators from around the world to apply for the program. Innovators selected through a competitive process will be invited to meet participating TechEmerge health care providers in East Africa to discuss opportunities to pilot their solutions and commercialize their technology in this market.
According to International Financial Corporation, applications can be submitted at www.techemerge.org/health through February 25, 2020.
IFC will provide support to health tech innovators during the market-entry and tech transfer process– mitigating financial and operational risks associated with market entry and reducing adoption risks for local health care providers.
Selected innovators will receive support and grant funding from the TechEmerge team to pilot their innovations in the East African market, with the ultimate goal of wider commercial deployment of the technology to improve health care delivery.
The TechEmerge Health program is part of IFC’s approach to support entrepreneurship and innovation in emerging markets and leverage the private sector to increase and improve access to quality health services.
The program has already been implemented successfully in India where innovators were matched with leading healthcare providers to implement pilot projects reaching more than 18,000 patients.
These initial pilots have led to commercial contracts worth $1 million for broader deployment of health care innovations in India that are expected to benefit more than 300,000 people each year.
The program is being implemented in partnership with the Finnish Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment and the Israeli Ministry of Economy and Industry. IFC has a global investment portfolio of more than $2 billion in the health care sector.