George Institute for Global Health India Health Accelerator & UNICEF India join hands to launch an Innovation Challenge to provide

New Delhi, Aug 12 – The George Institute has joined hands with UNICEF India to launch an Innovation challenge to identify “disruptive solutions for psycho-social support to health workers”, The aim of this challenge is to leverage India’s vibrant start up ecosystem to source potential solutions to support healthcare workers that can be accelerated and scaled within health care delivery systems in India and other Low and Middle Income Countries (LMIC’s).

This was announced at the awards ceremony of the COVID Care at home health innovation challenge hosted by The George Institute India Health Accelerator. Over 150 high quality submissions were received for the challenge and 35 of them were mentored by experts for over 6 weeks. Among these,12 promising innovations made their final pitch on 31st of July. The winner in the home based management of COVID, and post COVID complications was awarded to Maya MD an AI powered decision support platform. SAATH health an interactive platform that provides contextual authentic information was the winner in innovations for combating misinformation category and Vishranthi an innovation that monitors stress and offers preventive interventions through a mobile application was the winner in the mental health support category.

At the Awards ceremony an expert panel discussed the role of health innovations in supporting Governments and Health care delivery systems during the pandemic. The keynote address was delivered by Dr Vipul Aggarwal – Dy. Chief Executive Officer, National Health Authority. Dr Aggarwal highlighted the rapid adoption and scale up of health innovations during the COVID-19 pandemic in India, he urged the innovators to identify solutions to deliver health services to those who are missed by the routine health care delivery.

The panellists included Louise Agersnap – Head of Innovation World Health Organization, Dr Biju Jacob – Country Director (India), UN Health Innovation Exchange, Dr Priyanka Singh – National consultant Health UNICEF India country Office and Dr Ajay Takaroo – Health Specialist, Policy Innovations, UNICEF, India Country Office. The panellists shared their perspectives on role of innovations and how there is a huge demand and supply mismatch in health services delivery and several examples of health innovations that have been scaled within the national health mission were highlighted. These included boat hospital and motorbike ambulance in rural and remote areas.

An example of a solar powered oxygen concentrator that was scaled up across Somalia leveraging the WHO Innovation scaling framework was presented at the forum.

Announcing the UNICEF, TGI India Health Accelerator Innovation challenge, Dr Ajay Takaroo outlined the immense burden posed by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic on healthcare workers and urged the innovation and start up ecosystem in India to develop novel approaches to provide psychosocial support to health workers.

“It is an honour that TGI has been selected as the acceleration partner for the Share Care digital health platform that has been developed by UNICEF and NIMHANS to support healthworkers during the pandemic. The health innovation fellowship programme offers an unique opportunity for such innovations to be embedded and evaluated within health delivery contexts, said Dr Oommen John, who leads the India Health accelerator programme at TGI.

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