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Launching the PHC Tech Challenge – A global hunt for innovations to address primary health care challenges in India

March 22, 2021 by PATH

New Delhi, Monday, March 22, 2021

PATH announced the launch of the PHC Tech Challenge today. The program aims to advance primary health care and improve health outcomes in India and similar low-and-middle income countries. The PHC Tech Challenge is launched in partnership with the Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India, Centre for Cellular and Molecular Platform, Social Alpha, Swasth, ACT, Stanford Byers Centre for Biodesign, and The Stanford Centre for Innovation in Global Health.

The objective of the PHC Tech Challenge is to bring promising med-tech and digital health innovations from across the globe to key stakeholders including the government, health agencies, donors, development partners, private-sector organizations and providers, etc.

The mission of PHC Tech Challenge is to accelerate deployment of near-ready solutions in public health settings and improve access to primary health care in India. The program seeks innovative med-tech solutions, digital health innovations, cold chain systems, and frugal innovations that enable overall operationalization of primary health care. Indian and global enterprises who have innovative products benchmarked at TR-8 or beyond can apply.

Commenting on the launch of the PHC Tech Challenge, Prof. K. Vijayraghavan, Principal Scientific Adviser to Government of India, said, “The PHC Tech Challenge is being launched at an opportune moment because innovation in medical technologies is a constant need to meet the challenges of primary health care in India. Importantly, enhancing the primary health care system is a priority for the government in ensuring India’s continuing progress to meet the Sustainable Development Goal on health and well-being for all. Quality, accessibility, and affordability of primary health care services in India is complex and it is rapidly being addressed by the National Health Agency and the National Digital Health Mission. The PHC Tech Challenge is a useful addition to these efforts.”

Mohammad Ameel, Head, Primary Health Care, Technology & Innovations at PATH India, said, “Few current primary health care systems take advantage of innovation and technology. It’s time we reap their potential. PATH is pleased to host the PHC Tech Challenge to bridge the gaps in adoption and scaling of innovations which would positively impact primary health care in India and beyond. This program brings together diverse and complementary strengths of our partners in providing a balanced concoction of support tools to innovations at the brim of implementation.”

The innovations selected under the program will receive support for on-ground implementation from PATH and the program partners. The support provided will include refining operational plans, navigating the regulatory landscape, and understanding national and global market dynamics. The selected innovations will also be showcased to key global and local stakeholders working in the space of primary health care such as government, health agencies, donors, development partners, etc.

Manoj Kumar, Founder and CEO, Social Alpha, said, "Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and Ayushman Bharat Yojana are poised to upgrade India's primary health care centers to Health and Wellness Centers. This is an exciting time for health technology companies to showcase their breakthrough innovations. We are pleased to partner with PATH and other key stakeholders as we search for deployment-ready solutions as part of the PHC Tech Challenge."

Dr. Taslimarif Saiyed, Director and CEO, Centre for Cellular and Molecular Platform, said, “A large population in India and worldwide lacks efficient coverage of primary health care. Cutting-edge innovations have the potential to transform the primary health care landscape in India. As a part of our vision of bringing together academia, industry, and the startup ecosystem, Centre for Cellular and Molecular Platform is excited to partner with the PHC Tech Challenge and support innovations to reach scale.”

“ACT saw the power of encouraging innovators to tackle large public issues during the COVID-19 response as over 50 start-ups reached 49 million lives in 125 districts across the country. We are now seeking to replicate that with the next cohort of innovators and addressing primary health care challenges at scale,” said Sandeep Singhal, Lead, Health Care, ACT.

Dr. Ajay Nair, CEO, Swasth, said, “A robust primary health care system is probably the lowest cost and highest impact investment that one can make in the health system. India has long had a vision of providing comprehensive primary health care to its citizens, but delivery has fallen short. Technology innovation, med-tech as well as digital health, can significantly improve our ability to build comprehensive primary health care systems. This is an incredible opportunity for impact as well as for innovators to showcase their solutions to a wide set of actors across the health care system.”

“Primary health care is not the last mile but the first mile of protection in resource constrained settings, and health technologies can play a significant role in enabling this first mile. Stanford Byers Center for Biodesign and Stanford Center for Global Health are pleased to partner with PATH on the PHC Tech Challenge, designed to identify and enable wide adoption of proven health technologies," said Dr. Anurag Mairal, Director, Global Outreach Programs, Stanford Byers Center for Biodesign and Lead Faculty, Technology Innovation and Impact, Center for Innovation in Global Health.

The PHC Tech Challenge is a part of PATH’s mission to make Universal Health Coverage 2030 a reality as it reimagines primary health care through a people-centered, innovation-driven approach that provides health care access to the most vulnerable and gives everyone a fair chance at good health and well-being.

To apply, visit path.org/phctechchallenge. Last date to submit applications is April 22, 2021.

About Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India

Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India provides pragmatic and objective advice to the Prime Minister and the cabinet on matters related to science, technology, and innovation with a focus on application of science and technology in critical infrastructure, and the economic and social sectors.

About Social Alpha

Social Alpha is a not-for-profit platform under the Foundation for Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship. It operates through a nationwide network of technology and business incubation infrastructure sponsored and enabled by the Tata Trusts; Government of India; and various academic, philanthropic, and corporate partnerships.

About Centre for Cellular and Molecular Platforms

Centre for Cellular and Molecular Platforms is an initiative of the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India. It was established in 2009 with a mandate to enable cutting edge Life Sciences Research and Innovation. Centre for Cellular and Molecular Platforms is India’s one of the most exciting life sciences innovation hub bringing together academia, industry, and the start-up ecosystem, all on one platform.

About Swasth

Swasth is a not-for-profit initiative that aims to leverage India’s proven clinical capabilities and demonstrated technology prowess. It is a consortium of like-minded, relevant, and successful professionals from the health care ecosystem who have voluntarily come together to commit their time, intellect, IP, and financial resources to help India leapfrog and provide high-quality health care using the best-in-class digital technologies.

About The Stanford Center for Innovation in Global Health

The Stanford Center for Innovation in Global Health strives to enable collaborative programs in global health for residents, medical students, graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, and undergraduate students by reaching across geographic, cultural, economic, and gender boundaries to inspire a new generation to work for social change, justice, and increased equity in global health outcomes.

About Stanford Byers Centre for Biodesign

Stanford Byers Centre for Biodesign bring the world’s most promising minds into their circle to investigate, inspire, and innovate a healthier world for all. Stanford Biodesign is educating and empowering health technology innovators, and leading the transition to a value-driven innovation ecosystem.

About ACT

ACT is a social change movement for the startup ecosystem in India. It is enabling changemakers to give their time, talent, and resources to mobilize solutions that address societal problems at scale. ACT started as a response to fight COVID-19, and has now expanded its mandate to address challenges related health care, education, environment, and women’s participation in workforce.

About PATH

PATH is a global nonprofit dedicated to ending health inequity. With more than 40 years of experience forging multisector partnerships, and expertise in science, health, economics, technology, advocacy, and dozens of other specialties, PATH develops and scales innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing public health challenges.

For media inquiries, contact:

Isha Jain

ijain@path.org

9873489655