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Novartis launches African healthtech innovation challenge

By , ITWeb
Africa , 12 Apr 2023
The #Play4Health challenge is seeking solutions to meet the needs of school children and their teachers, across Africa.
The #Play4Health challenge is seeking solutions to meet the needs of school children and their teachers, across Africa.

The Novartis Foundation, through the HealthTech Hub Africa, a hybrid pan-African health tech accelerator, has opened applications for the #Play4Health challenge.

The challenge aims to identify a couple of innovative health tech solutions to receive fast-tracking funding grants to increase healthy living options for school children in Africa. 

The underlying aim is to promote a long-term positive impact on cardiovascular health, says the foundation.

It notes that a study conducted by the University of Basel, South Africa’s University of Nelson Mandela and the Novartis Foundation found that 40% of school children in the disadvantaged communities in and around Port Elizabeth, South Africa, did not meet international physical activity recommendations. Further, 30% of them were classified as hypertensive.

The foundation says the aim of the solutions created for the challenge should primarily respond to the needs of school children between the ages of 5-17 years old (and their teachers) in Africa.

The solution must enable the strong foundational knowledge about the importance of regular physical education and healthy nutrition and support the physical condition and health literacy of school children in Africa.

The solution should also promote at least one hour per day of physical activity at moderate to vigorous intensity, demonstrate improvements in body mass index and the creation of healthier long-term healthy habits for children.

“The purpose of this challenge is to highlight the main requirements and design principles for Healthtech innovations to address the priority gaps in the cardiovascular population health for school children, with the goal to accelerate or scale up two selected solutions in one or more countries in Africa, and make recommendations for a larger scale up plan upon completion of a successful fast-tracking project. Solutions building on the findings of the KaziBantu initiative are encouraged,” says Novartis.

According to the foundation, this grant opportunity is the result of collaboration between the Healthtech Hub Africa and the 2023 Africa Digital Health Summit.

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