The Social Innovation in Health Initiative (SIHI), a new international partnership, is seeking implemented solutions for improving healthcare delivery around neglected tropical diseases, malaria and TB in Africa, Asia and South America.

Globally, over one billion people are affected by poverty, disease and poor health systems that are unable to deliver the care they require. In response, numerous innovative solutions across Africa, Asia and South America have already been successfully implemented to tackle the situations. The SIHI wants to identify these solutions, learn in greater depth about the components that have made them successful and support the healthcare innovators to grow and scale their work across contexts and regions.

SIHI is a global collaboration between the WHO’s Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR), the Bertha Centre for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business, and Oxford University’s Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship at the Said School of Business. “We are delighted to have initiated this, and to help advance and develop the capacity for social innovation in healthcare delivery across the global south,” said Portfolio and Programme Manager at TDR, Dr Beatrice Halpaap.

Any innovators or organisations who have implemented an effective solution that has improved the lives of those affected by infectious diseases or poverty are invited to nominate their solution online at before 28 February 2015.

The solutions need to have directly or indirectly addressed healthcare relating to neglected tropical diseases, malaria or TB in Africa, South America or Asia and need to demonstrate appropriateness, innovation, inclusiveness, affordability and effectiveness. “We believe that healthcare delivery systems in the global south, and particularly in Africa, can be transformed through the inclusive participation of different actors. Everyone has a role to play whether a healthcare worker, entrepreneur, policy maker or engaged citizen,” said Bertha Centre Health Innovation Lead, Dr Lindi van Niekerk.

Innovations can involve different types of solutions in healthcare delivery and may include processes (reorganised care-pathways), products (mobile applications, low-cost devices), market mechanisms (social finance instruments, cross-subsidised care models; low fee private care), role and behavioural practices (peer-to-peer, models of patient empowerment, task-shifting) or place-based innovations (community-based health services).

Through a process of submission and review, a panel of experts will consider all nominations and select 25 finalists, who will be considered for:

  • Funded travel and connections with national and global health policy makers at a meeting of selected participants at the WHO in Geneva.
  • The opportunity to become part of the first Global Health Innovators Fellowship Programme hosted at the University of Cape Town and the University of Oxford in 2015-2016. This programme will support innovative organisations to grow and scale their solutions and impact.
  • Being featured in an international publication on healthcare solutions in infectious diseases.

The SIHI team will visit the selected solutions to learn from and engage with them, connect them to local and international policy makers and support them to scale their work.

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