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Meet Africa’s New Generation of Health Innovators

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DAKAR, Senegal/GENEVA, Switzerland, 16 September 2021 -/African Media Agency(AMA)/- The International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations (IFPMA) and Speak Up Africa, have announced Conrad Tankou, CEO, GIC Space (Cameroon); John Mwangi, CEO, Daktari Media (Kenya) and Imodoye Abioro, CEO, Healthbotics (Nigeria) as the winners of the Africa Young Innovators for Health Award.

The Africa Young Innovators for Health Award is IFPMA and Speak Up Africa’s flagship programme to provide young entrepreneurs in the healthcare sector an opportunity to develop their business ideas and advance promising solutions to support, equip, protect, and train healthcare workers. Applicants must be 18 to 35 years and be a national or resident of an African country.

The Award winners will take home a total of $75,000 in financial support and benefit from a business mentorship programme, media training and technical support with intellectual property protection, plus exposure to a renowned network of global health leaders.

First prize winner, Conrad Tankou, CEO of GIC Space developed five proprietary medical technologies, under the GICMED platform, to remotely screen and diagnose women for breast and cervical cancers. The second prize winner, John Mwangi, CEO, Daktari Media invented Daktari Online, an online medical learning platform that offers continuing medical education to healthcare professionals. The third prize winner, Imodoye Abioro, CEO, Healthbotics created an AI-powered Electronic Medical Records system, Mediverse, which is built on the blockchain and allows health workers to input and retrieve patient records with their voice, working with or without Internet access.

First prize winner, Conrad Tankou said ““It is an honour to receive the first-ever Africa Young Innovators for Health Award. This is a true endorsement of our accomplishments and testament to our goal – improving access to screening and diagnosis of breast and cervical cancers for women, even in the most remote areas. With the Award’s financial and business mentorship support, we can upgrade our technologies and start scaling our solution much quicker by investing in manufacturing capabilities and building more local partnerships.”

Speak Up Africa’s, Founder and Executive Director, Yacine Djibo said “I continue to be impressed by the dedication, vision and creativity of young people in the healthcare sector. The Award programme is a testament to the potential but also the concrete solutions that already exist to some of the most challenging health issues not only in Africa but around the world.”

Recognising that only one fifth of applications came from women, IFPMA and Speak Up Africa also launched the Women Innovators Incubator, an initiative aimed at addressing the gaps in female-led innovation and tackling the additional hurdles women have to face to help take their business ideas from concept to implementation. Female applicants of the Award will be eligible for the programme. Participants will receive financial support, a business mentorship programme, media training and access to an expert network of supporters and partners working across, digital, healthcare and media.

Thomas Cueni, Director-General at IFPMA explained that “Our three award winners have had an amazing journey and are working on some really important innovations; and the Africa Young Innovators Award will continue in following years to find more new innovation talent. But in future years, we would like to see more young women come forwards. There are significant imbalances between men and women in access to funding, training and skills development, professional networks, and overall participation in competitive environments. The incubator is our response to tackling these inequalities and improving access to opportunities for women in the health innovation landscape. If we miss the potential of young women innovators, we are losing 50% of Africa’s power to innovate.”

The Africa Young Innovators for Health Award is supported by AMREF Health Africa, BroadReach, Ecobank Academy, Forum Galien Africa, IntraHealth International, Microsoft4Afrika, the Organisation Africaine de la Propriété Intellectuelle, the RBM Partnership to End Malaria, and Social Change Factory, alongside our media partners: Africa.com, Télésud, and SciDev.Net.

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