California-based Hack for Big Choices and Ghana’s Impact Hub Accra have announced the upcoming launch of I Care 4 Africa, an initiative that will see private companies, entrepreneurs and governments collaborate to lay down the foundation for a continent-wide healthcare system.
The programme is designed to empower entrepreneurs and medical professionals to use their experience and talents to match business opportunities in the healthcare space. It will involve a healthcare hackathon in June to launch new businesses, followed by an accelerator programme.
“Until now African healthcare has depended heavily on international aid organisations that are not unified in their approach to creating sustainable innovation that can solve healthcare problems,” said Aurora Chiste, chief executive officer (CEO) of Hack For Big Choices.
“I believe that local entrepreneurs, who until now have been left out of the equation, are the trigger that can leapfrog the system. We intend to prove that through collaboration with the world’s leaders and local stakeholders, it’s possible to structure a innovative, sustainable healthcare system.”
Michael Gamber of the Merck Innovation Center said participating in the Healthcare Hackathon in Ghana would enable the company to use its expertise in supporting entrepreneurs to turn their ideas into reality.
“The project offers us the opportunity to help develop solutions to problems that are faced not only by people in the region, but in countries all over the world,” he said.
The partners believe the programme will be successful as it focuses on African entrepreneurs, who are the ones who experience the continent’s problems first hand and have a deep understanding of their own culture.
The lack of established and dated infrastructure, as is the case elsewhere, means new technologies can be directly adopted, reducing cost and time.
“We decided to organise this programme because many of us forget that people are suffering everyday. People are dying from malnutrition, dying from drinking unclean water, dying of curable diseases, and dying because there are no doctors or hospital near to them. We staunchly reject the notion that there is nothing that can be done to solve these problems, and that people around the world don’t care to make a difference,” said John Paul Parmigiani, CEO of Impact Hub Accra.