Winners emerge at inaugural Health Innovation Challenge Awards

This blog appeared first on the Private Sector Health Alliance of Nigeria(PHN).

The Private Sector Health Alliance of Nigeria (PHN) has made a case for catalytic impact investment to scale-up disruptive healthcare innovations in Nigeria, a move that would improve health outcomes and accelerate efforts aimed at attaining health-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The private sector coalition, led by Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Dr. Muhammad Ali Pate, Mr. Jim Ovia, Mr. Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, Mrs. Sola David Borha and private sector leaders in Nigeria at the inaugural Health Innovation and Impact Investment Summit, observed that there is the critical need to bridge the gap between spurring disruptive innovations, shaping health markets and attracting innovative financing for scaling-up promising healthcare innovations in the country.

The Summit coincided with the Health Innovation Challenge Awards, a brainchild of the Private Sector Health Alliance of Nigeria (PHN) and the Nigeria Health Innovation Marketplace (NHIM). The winning innovators who received prizes were picked from a poll of 10 finalists who were chosen from over 1000 applications following rigorous screening and result which was audited by renowned international consultancy firm, Accenture.

The design bootcamp was to identify promising innovations which demonstrate social merit, commercial visibility, scalability, and address critical challenges in Nigeria's health sector

Mr. Jim Ovia, co-chair of PHN and Chairman of Zenith Bank, stated that the private sector has the potential to expand access to healthcare services, improve quality of care and complement government's efforts at addressing health system challenges in the country.

"The innovators are not making money but they are contributing to saving lives and improving society. We will give them all the support and definitely they will be making money in the future," Mr. Jim Ovia stated.

Dr. Muntaqa Umar-Sadiq, CEO, Private Sector Health Alliance bemoaned the lack of opportunities to harness bold and innovative ideas in the health sector in Nigeria, a development which several African countries have ridden a wave of locally appropriate private sector driven innovations to accelerate progress and expand access to quality health services especially for the poor.

The Health Innovation Award aimed at making the innovation in the health sector become more visible. The Private Sector Health Alliance in collaboration with Flint Atlantic Capital Partners, International Finance Corporation (IFC), an arm of the World Bank, Harnessing Non-state Actors for Better Health for the Poor (HANSHEP) and Health Strategy and Delivery Foundation (HSDF) converged a market for healthcare social enterprise and impact investment capital.

"The Nigeria Health Innovation Marketplace curated a pipeline of 42 innovations representing four archetypes of healthcare innovations including; franchising & innovations in service delivery, product specialization, technology enablers and local manufacturers of life saving commodities. In all of this, the private sector is an essential actor in catalyzing, promoting and investing in innovative approaches and social enterprises," Dr Muntaqa stated.

Mr. Herbert Wigwe, CEO of Access Bank and co-chair, Nigeria Health Innovation Marketplace revealed that innovation such as those that were honoured at the awards will create more space for private sector participation in healthcare.

"Healthcare has been all about government and treated like a social welfare that the private sector should not be involved. This should not be so. Five innovators will be given awards today. They would save lives. If we have identified 12 why can't we have 100 or 200 and more innovations," he said.


Fyodor Urine Malaria Test (UMT), an innovative product specialized device developed to monitor the effectiveness of malaria treatment by rapid urine testing have won the top prize of $100,000 at the inaugural Health Innovation Challenge Awards which held in Lagos.

Fyodor UMT distrust the existing testing model by detecting HRP2 proteins or fragments thereof shed in the urine of febrile patients based on a novel recombinant antibody technology. The overall performance of the UMT is equivalent to that of the Binax NOW blood test, the only malaria test approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration.

The first runner-up of the day, Medical Devices as a Service (MDaaS), won $50,000 for its innovative method in reducing the cost of acquiring medical devices by providing hospitals with a range of acquisition options and world-class support services. MdaaS has provided three private primary healthcare centres with over 10 devices such as Ultrasounds, X-rays, Patients monitors, Ventilators, and Defibrillators, through direct sales since its launch into the Nigerian market in September 2015.

The second runner-up, e-HEAL (Electronic Health Education in Any Language) was awarded $30,000 for its innovative kit that uses a combination of graphics, audio technology and solar-powered pen to communicate health information in local Nigerian languages to illiterate families in rural areas without access to doctors. All the users need to do is to touch the appropriate graphics with the electronic pen that comes with the kit and whatever the graphics represents will be communicated to the user in his/her language.

The third runner-up, the Mobile Health Insurance program (mHealth), got a prize money of $20,000. mHealth provides social and affordable health insurance plans to all mobile network subscriber in Nigeria for a low as N35 per day. Mhealth aims at making cost-effective and efficient access to basic and qualitative healthcare services to every Nigerian.

The last winner of the day was Omoni which was awarded prize money of $15,000. Omomi, which means “my child” in Yoruba is an android based mobile application used by pregnant mothers to monitor their health and that of their unborn babies. The device also monitors the health of babies up to age five. It is aimed at saving lives, reducing maternal and infant mortality in the critical early years.

The application helps mothers in growth monitoring, oral rehydration therapy, breastfeeding, immunization, female education, family planning and food supplementation. Though the application and SMS alerts, mothers can have live chats with doctors, find the nearest health provider through GPS and automatically track vaccine.



The transition from the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provides a compelling opportunity for Nigeria to distil lessons from its MDGs experience, reshape its aspirations and ensure a pathway to universal health coverage that provides quality healthcare for all Nigerians. The private sector also has distinctive assets, broad reach, capabilities and capital to offer the health system; ranging from management capabilities, innovative financing, mobile technology to supply chain and logistics infrastructure. Indeed, several African countries have ridden a wave of locally appropriate private sector driven innovations to accelerate progress and expand access to quality health services“ especially for the poor. As a first step, the Inaugural Private Sector Health Summit convened in 2012 outlined i) fiscal policy, regulatory and access to capital reforms to unlock the market potential of the health sector and catalyzed the emergence of the Private Sector Health Alliance of Nigeria as a country owned platform to mobilize the private sector to improve health outcomes through innovation, impact investments and sustained partnerships with the public sector.

No doubt, the private sector has distinctive assets, capabilities and capital to offer the health system; ranging from management capabilities, innovative financing, mobile technology to supply chain and logistics infrastructure.