By Sola Ogundipe
The Champions of Science Africa Innovation Challenge 2.0, the second continent-wide competition recently launched by Johnson & Johnson targets African innovators to submit ideas for innovative technologies, products and solutions that have the potential to create positive impact for African communities.
The challenge focuses on identifying measurable and sustainable solutions to six major health and environmental problems for Africa’s population.
It is designed to address the critical unmet needs of the continent and local communities in Africa while providing support to Africa-based entrepreneurs in creating innovative health care products and services. Among selection criteria, entries must demonstrate the potential for scale from proof of concept stage to long-term sustainability.
Challenge participants with the best solutions will receive up to US$50,000 in funding and mentorship from the global network of scientists, engineers and business managers within the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies to bring new solutions forward.
The challenge’s solution categories include: Botanical Solutions that seeks naturally-derived, plant-based solutions that tap into traditional knowledge and deliver consumer health and wellness benefits through topical application.
Others are Packaging Innovations for packaging of single-dose units and other affordable product sizes that will reduce or eliminate waste, while protecting the product, and Mental Health care innovations that create awareness for mental illness as a public health problem and offer solutions for patients, caregivers, and their communities.
Also included is Health Worker Support innovations that support the wellbeing and resilience of nurses, midwives and community health workers at the heart of delivering care; Digital Health Tools (including apps and other mobile/web/data enabled tech) that can inform, educate, communicate and connect people to treatment, support and care through their reach and information and improve health outcomes especially for women, and Essential Surgical Care innovations that promote access to timely, safe, and skilled surgical care.
“The Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies comprises of one of the world’s largest health care companies and is drawing on over 85 years of engagement in Africa in over 25 countries, and we are proud to support Africa’s rapidly advancing innovation ecosystem,” said Alma Scott, Vice President, Operations and Partnerships, Global Public Health, Johnson & Johnson.