The COVID-19 pandemic has sparked a growing realization of the potential for harnessing innovation to improve the capacity and efficiency of health systems, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. This is particularly important as illnesses such as cancer and heart disease are becoming much more common in the African continent.
This October, the Novartis Foundation, in collaboration with Norrsken East Africa, launched the HealthTech Hub Challenge, a competition to find the top East Africa-based innovators working on breast cancer, cardiovascular health, or virtual health and care challenges. The challenge will award up to 30 startups a full-year subsidy to the HealthTech Hub Africa and participation in its 2022 HealthTech Innovation Program.
Devex is hosting this event in partnership with the Novartis Foundation to bring together the 10 finalists from a shortlist of 30 startups to participate in a public virtual pitch to a panel of judges. The winning five start-ups will be awarded a prize of $30k, $20k, $20k, $10k and $5k respectively.
The challenge is part of the HealthTech Hub Africa, a new HealthTech accelerator based in Kigali, Rwanda. The hub, powered by the Novartis Foundation, will host and support startups through capability-building opportunities, partner matchmaking with the public and private sectors, as well as mentorship and opportunities to test and validate their solutions in the public health system.
• Catherine Cheney, Senior Reporter, Devex
Pitching & Q&A segment
1. Virtual Health Care
2. Breast Cancer
3. Cardiovascular health
• Facilitator: Alexandre Cabaret, Senior Director, Partnerships, Devex
• Catherine Cheney, Senior Reporter, Devex
Lucy Setian is responsible for the strategy and implementation of Digital & AI programs at the Novartis Foundation. Lucy is currently working on fostering multi organizational and governmental dialogue and implementing initiatives based on best practices in digital health care and delivery in low- and middle- income countries. Prior to joining the Novartis Foundation, she was in charge of the Technology Practice at UCB, driving strategic communications and educational programs on Digital & AI. Throughout her career, Lucy has held different leadership roles with a focus on corporate strategy and business development, digital project and program management, innovation, marketing and communications across different industries. Lucy is a Computer Engineer from the German faculty program of the Technical University of Sofia and the Technical University of Karlsruhe. She holds a magna cum laude Master degree in Communication Sciences from VUB-Brussels, and an Executive MBA from Solvay Business School.
Mathieu Morand is Senior Manager, Digital & Financing at City Cancer Challenge Foundation, a Geneva-based international non-profit organization focused on cancer care system strengthening in Low and Middle Income Countries. He oversees all technical assistance efforts globally in the areas of healthcare system Digital Transformation and Innovative Financing for the cities of C/Can network. Previously, Mathieu evolved for close to a decade in the world of Venture Capital as an Investment Manager in both India and Europe, with a high concentration on Health Tech start-ups. He also headed Operations for a VC-funded Health Tech start-up in Mumbai. Mathieu holds a Master in Management from HEC Paris and an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad, with concentration in finance and entrepreneurship.
Pascal Murasira is the Managing Director for Norrsken Foundation in East Africa and serves in its global management team. Before being named MD in February 2021, Pascal was a consultant in The Netherlands working with European tech startups operating on the African market. He advised clients on commercial issues ranging from go-to-market and growth strategies, partnership development, and talent acquisition. Previous to his work in the Netherlands, Pascal was Head of Commercial Operations in Rwanda for Babylon Health, a healthtech startup providing end-to-end digital health services to millions of Rwandans.
Vicki Pinkney-Atkinson, South Africa, is the CEO of the South African Non-Communicable Disease Alliance (SANCDA), in which capacity she has served since its formation in 2013. Vicki was born with an NCD, psoriasis, and now lives with around 20 NCDs conditions. She is the survivor of multiple near-death NCDs experiences, which shaped her activism for NCDs and universal health coverage. Nearly four years ago, Vicki stopped her private health insurance as part of the activism. Today she advocates for NCDs policy coherence in South Africa. Her preferred research form is qualitative research with triangulation of methods when needed. Her doctorate explored the NCDs nurse specialist role in an ambulatory setting to empower people living with NCDs towards self-care (University of the Witwatersrand). She is a registered nurse, midwife, tutor and administrator. Over 50 years of work experience in the health sector allows a 360 degree perspective of stakeholders and spaces that stretch from Soweto in the 1970s and rural apartheid “homelands” to continental and global forays. Today she enjoys the reach and safety that the internet provides. Her target is to live for one more year to beat the UN premature NCDs mortality cut off 70 years. She wants this year to count toward NCDs equity and full inclusion in UHC.
Dr Shivon Byamukama is the Managing Director of Babyl Rwanda. Babyl is a subsidiary of Babylon, a global digital health care provider, whose mission is to put an accessible and affordable health service in the hands of everyone on earth. Prior to that, she was the Company Secretary and Head of Corporate Affairs at Bank of Kigali in charge of the Bank’s Legal Affairs, Investor Relations, Public Communications and Corporate Social Responsibility. Prior to joining Bank of Kigali, she was the Company Secretary and Chief Legal Officer for RwandAir, Rwanda’s national carrier. Shivon serves on several boards and is an Eisenhower Fellow- 2016. Shivon has a PhD from Glasgow Caledonian University Glasgow and a Bachelor of Laws Degree from Makerere University- Uganda
Alexandre is senior director of partnerships at Devex where he leads relationships with international organizations and is an executive producer for numerous Devex-led global health initiatives. At Devex since 2011, he has successfully designed and led strategic partnerships to shed light on universal health coverage, funding gaps for maternal health, the promise of digital health and financing for development, among other issues. With more than 15 years' experience in global development, he previously managed projects financed by the World Bank, EuropeAid and AFD - the French Development Agency, in the Western Balkans and West Africa.
Catherine Cheney is a Senior Reporter for Devex. She covers the West Coast of the U.S., focusing on the role of technology, innovation, and philanthropy in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. And she frequently represents Devex as a speaker and moderator. Prior to joining Devex, Catherine earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Yale University, worked as a web producer for POLITICO and reporter for World Politics Review, and helped to launch NationSwell. Catherine has reported domestically and internationally for outlets including The Atlantic and the Washington Post. Catherine also works for the Solutions Journalism Network, a non profit that trains and connects reporters to cover responses to problems.