HEALTH INNOVATOR AWARD; IFPMA and Speak Up Africa launch 2nd edition

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The International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Association (IFPMA) and Speak Up Africa have launched the second edition of their flagship program, the African Young Innovators for Health Award, on the sidelines of the 76th session of the World Health Assembly. 

This year, the Award Program seeks to find and nurture youth-driven health innovations that strive to accelerate efforts to advance Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in Africa. UHC means that all individuals and communities have access to the full spectrum of quality healthcare services without the risk of financial hardship, ensuring “Health for All. Everywhere.” 

Most African countries have UHC as a goal in their national health strategies. Yet, progress has been slow. Countries that achieve their UHC targets by 2030 will eliminate preventable maternal and child deaths, strengthen resilience to public health emergencies, reduce financial hardship linked to illness, and fortify the foundations for long-term economic growth.

Speaking about the theme of the second edition of the Award Program, Dr. Karim Bendhaou, Africa Engagement Committee Chair, IFPMA, says, “Despite African countries across the continent strongly demonstrating their commitment to achieving UHC by 2030, progress toward reaching this goal has stalled, with the Covid-19 pandemic reversing many hard-earned gains.

The Africa Young Innovators for Health Award provides an invaluable opportunity to leverage the ingenuity of Africa’s growing youth population to find locally adapted solutions that help our communities have greater access to affordable and quality healthcare products and services.” 

The Award offers four winners financial support totaling 90, 000 USD to take their innovation to the next level, alongside a three-month business mentorship program with leading business figures and strategic guidance on intellectual property rights from one of Africa’s top law firms. 

“This program provides young African health innovators the chance to learn from business, media, and legal experts to further develop their healthcare innovations, join a growing community of healthcare entrepreneurs, and strengthen the health ecosystem on the continent so that Africa’s biggest health challenges can be tackled,” says Yacine Djibo, Director and Founder of Speak Up Africa, reflecting on the value the program.

Conrad Tankou, CEO of GICMed and winner of the first edition of the Award, says, “The program gave me the space to identify the strengths and weaknesses in my business and helped me improve my business model to attract investors, grow my network, and successfully scale up into new areas.” 

This year applicants must be between 21 and 35 and be able to show that they have developed a minimum viable health product or service or are in the process of developing such a product or service, with the potential to scale up their innovation to drive efforts towards achieving UHC.

As a learning from the 1st edition of the Awards, men and women will be eligible for first and second place prizes each, ensuring greater gender equality in the Awards and as foundational to a UHC where no one is left behind. 

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