Strengthening global health in five innovative ways

© August de Richelieu / pexels

A lack of staff, a lack of protective equipment and inadequate training and further education for people working in the healthcare sector make the entire system vulnerable. The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed many such challenges. Innovative ideas are needed to ensure that the healthcare system is better equipped for the future and that comprehensive pandemic preparedness can be guaranteed.

The Digital Health Innovation Acceleration Programme (DHIAP) was launched in 2021. It is powered by the WFP Innovation Accelerator and focuses on accelerating scalable digital innovations to advance pandemic preparedness. To mitigate fragmentation, foster collaboration, and expedite impact, the program seeks out innovations employing open standards, open-source methodologies, or open data strategies.

Building on the successes and learnings from the first chapter – DHIAP Open Challenges, in 2022 the second chapter of DHIAP – “Local Challenges” was launched. DHIAP “Local Challenges” is focused on supporting innovators that are rooted in the local ecosystems and respond to the specific pandemic preparedness needs of Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and Togo and its based on the Digital Pandemic Preparedness Assessment (DPPA) – a tool for evaluating a country’s digital ecosystem and thus preparedness for a possible pandemic response.

Following a structured selection and a due diligence process, out of 145 applicants, five teams were selected for the Sprint Programme, with access to US$ 250,000 in funding, tailored mentoring and coaching support.

About the innovators:

Flowminder, Sprint location – Ghana

Health services often rely on outdated census data for population metrics. In areas of high population mobility this can create inaccurate health metrics and affect resourcing and disease surveillance.

Flowminder integrates population mobility estimates into official statistics, using anonymized and aggregated data from mobile network operators. During Sprint, team will test whether incorporation of this data into Ghana Health Services’ metrics can improve disease surveillance and health service delivery. Flowminder is also supporting Ghana Statistical Services to produce innovative datasets on an ongoing basis.

© Flowminder
Erith, Sprint location – Sierra Leone

Frontline health workers face risks due to job hazards, coupled with inadequate access to protective gear and essential information. This hampers efforts in disease control and vital health services provision.

Erith aims to improve recruitment, training, and retention of the health workforce in West Africa thanks to their e-learning platform. Erith is building a localised training module, accessible offline through a menu-based information service and callback system on a USSD. This is combined with an e-commerce platform offering a range of affordable protective equipment for the health workers.


K-HEALTH by Kajou, Sprint location – Côte d’Ivoire

Community Health Workers (CHWs) play an essential part in the last mile health service delivery in Côte d’Ivoire, but they often face difficulty accessing training and updated information.

Kajou provides localised training to the CHWs through their phones. In partnership with the Ministry of Health and the National Institute for the Training of Health Workers, Kajou develops training modules are makes them available via MicroSD cards for offline use. During the Sprint, Kajou aims to produce and distribute relevant training content for 5,000 CHWs.


eHealthAfrica, Sprint location – Nigeria

The inefficiencies in health care facility supply chains, stockouts, and wastages at last-mile health facilities, detrimentally affect the entire health system.

eHealthAfrica is addressing this problem by merging their two main applications – LoMIS Deliver and LoMIS Stock – into one, all-encompassing platform: LoMIS Suite. With these merged applications, every piece of data collected will contribute to better delivery schedules, improved stock availability, and ensured access to essential healthcare services.


IntraHealth International, Sprint location – Togo

Absence of a reliable health workers registry leads to inability to effectively plan emergency responses, understaffed healthcare facilities, uneven distribution of workload, and unmet care needs.

iHRIS, a solution by IntraHealth International is a free, open-source health workforce registry that has been implemented in over 30 countries. During the sprint IntraHealth International aims to implement the newest version of iHRIS with Togo Ministry of Health for health workforce planning, reduced workforce shortage, increased emergency, and pandemic preparedness, for better health outcomes.