Facebook, Merck Support I Care 4 Africa‎

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Aurora Chiste

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Infrastructure for an African healthcare system is now being laid down by local entrepreneurs with help from Facebook and Merck

Facebook and Merck are supporting I Care 4 Africa, an initiative between a Silicon Valley based non-governmental organisation, NGO and a Ghana based incubator to catalyse the current healthcare system in Africa.

‎California, United States of America, based Hack for Big Choices and Ghana based, Impact Hub Accra , recently teamed up to host the largest hackathon in Africa last February. They are now announcing that in March 2016 they will launch I Care 4 Africa. For the first time ever, private companies, entrepreneurs, and governments will be working together to lay down the foundation for a continent-wide healthcare system, a press release from made available to Realnews on Wednesday said. 

“Until now African healthcare has depended heavily on international aid organizations that are not unified in their approach to creating sustainable innovation that can solve healthcare problems. 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. ” said Aurora Chiste, Chief executive officer, CEO, Hack For Big Choices

The programme is designed to empower entrepreneurs and medical professionals to use their first-hand experience and talents to match business opportunities in the healthcare space. There will be a major healthcare hackathon in June 24-26, 2016 to launch new businesses, followed by an accelerator programme.

Statistics contained in the press release stated that 61.7% of deaths in Africa are mostly preventable (infectious disease, maternal, neonatal, and nutrition conditions) By contrast, these conditions account for only 23% of deaths worldwide

  • 70% of all people living with HIV are in Sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Only 50% of people have access to modern health facilities.
  • Africa carries the burden of 25% of global disease yet makes up only 2% of the global physician workforce.
  • Westernized lifestyle and increased life expectancy in Africa is causing an increase of chronic diseases (cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and diabetes) that by 2030 will account for 42% of all deaths in the region.

Health challenges in Africa may continue to worsen due to inadequate systems for prevention and care. As the population of Africa continues to boom, solving the healthcare crisis is imperative.

“When we challenge the most motivated and fearless people to tackle these problems with few resources, we have real innovation that can be adopted not only in Africa but also by developed countries, because the solutions are more scalable and affordable ” – Chiste said.

On why the programme will be successful, the release said

African entrepreneurs are the ones who experience the world’s toughest issues first hand, don’t fear failure, have a deep understanding of their culture, and their perspectives are fresh.

Secondly, because there’s no established and dated infrastructure as in the European Union EU and the Unired States, US, new technologies can be directly adopted, reducing costs and time.

Thirdly, there is an economic opportunity in investing in successful cases of African innovation that can be adopted by other developing countries and the developed world .

“We decided to organize 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. “ John Paul Parmigiani, CEO Impact Hub Accra, said.

“Participating in the Healthcare Hackathon in Ghana will enable us to use our 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.” Michael Gamber, Merck Innovation Center

Multi-stakeholders collaborations are necessary to address complex challenges. Over the coming months we will be scouting organizations, institutions, Universities, NGOs and private companies that can bring funding, knowledge, expertise and technologies that can add value to and catalyze the healthcare system in Africa, the release which was issued in California, US, said

Hack for Big Choices is a global movement using the power of entrepreneurship to tackle the issues that stifle and block a country’s development.

Impact Hub Accra is a leading social entrepreneurship and innovation center in Ghana. It’s mission is to support inclusive growth in West Africa through the creation of a resilient and dynamic social innovation ecosystem.

—  Jan 20, 2016 @ 14:20 GMT

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