Covid-Care @Home is an innovation challenge by The George Institute India Health Accelerator Programme covering an ideathon and hackathon aimed at developing innovative solutions for managing covid-19 at home with a focus on rural areas.
Call for Innovations under categories
- Management of COVID-19 at home and post COVID complications
- Ensuring access to essential medical supplies for management of COVID-19
- Tools for dissemination of verified information and tackling misinformation
- Mental health support for frontline health workers and people affected by COVID-19
- Ideathon is open to school and college students
- Hackathon is open to both individual innovators and early stage start ups
Submission Open Till 10/06/2021
The winner from each category will be awarded INR 50,000 and will be provided mentorship by leading industry experts as part of the TGI Health Innovation Fellowship
How it all began
A reflection by Dr Oommen John is a physician researcher and digital health expert. He works at The George Institute for Global Health India and a Professor at Prasanna School of Public Health, Manipal Academy of Higher Education.
In early April 2021, as the number of persons with COVID-19 were rising exponentially in India, the healthcare delivery systems began to crumble. As a health professional, I dreaded every phone call that I would receive during those days, on the other side would be a friend or acquaintance gasping for breath and pleading for help in finding a bed. As the pandemic surged, the frantic calls for help kept increasing beyond my capacity to respond and the guilt growing to the extent of needing to sedate my conscience and switch off the phone. While you can cut off communications, the subconscious mind keeps processing those faint voices crying for help. As a public health professional I was desperate and looking for oxygen that could make the health systems stay alive, taking to social media to vent the frustration at the lack of systems approaches to addressing public health crisis.
The algorithms read between my words and led me to COVID-19 Open Online Briefings with Dr. David Nabarro hosted by 4SD. It was a transformative experience being part of the discussion led by David, driving home the key message around the pivotal role of systems approach for comprehensive COVID-19 response. I was invited to share my experiences from the ground, which provided an opportunity for experts from other regions to share what worked for them. In summarizing, David drove home the point that the ongoing pandemic is likely to linger for a long time and highlighted the need for systems thinking and whole of government response.
My participation at the Open Online Briefings and guidance provided by David got me thinking on how public health response in India and south east Asia could be augmented and prepared for this long haul.
I was reminded on an earlier instance of a prior humanitarian crisis that followed the massive earthquake in Nepal, where in a very short span of time we were able to develop and deploy an innovative solution to support health professionals who were involved in the relief work. “QuakeCare” was designed as a point of care decision support tool that provides evidence based guidance for triage and management of crush victims and initiate early treatment interventions to prevent complications. Why not a health innovations challenge for COVID-19?
This got us excited at the George Institute India Health Accelerator Programme, we sought input from innovators and start-ups being mentored by us. We also conducted a telephonic survey to understand the unmet needs from healthcare providers, people affected by COVID-19 in regions with limited healthcare delivery capacity in India and south-east Asia region.
While planning for the health innovation challenge, I contacted David and despite his busy engagement as Special Envoy of the World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General on COVID-19 while the world health assembly being in session, I am honoured and overwhelmed at the support and guidance provided by him and the team at 4SD to support the Covid-Care@Home Health Innovation Challenge.
About this 4SD Reflection
This article is a reflection by Dr Oommen John following the COVID-19 Open Online Briefings of Dr. David Nabarro. Dr Oommen John is a physician researcher and digital health expert. He works at The George Institute for Global Health India and a Professor at Prasanna School of Public Health, Manipal Academy of Higher Education. He is an elected fellow of the International Academy of Health Science Informatics.
Trained as an internist, he has worked in primary care settings in resource-limited contexts across LMICS and has extensive field level experience in designing, implementing and evaluating innovative solutions and its applicability in health service delivery. He has served with WHO in Immunization Strengthening and Vaccine Delivery, Research and Development at WHO SEARO. At George Institute for global health India, he leads the India Health Accelerator Programme. His research involves evaluating the role of digital health interventions in improving clinical outcomes. He serves on the expert advisory panel for the Market Access Programme of National Health Authority, India.
He is a member of the scientific advisory committee at Foundation for Innovative Diagnostics (FIND), advisory board of Commonwealth Centre for Digital Health. He has contributed to WHO Digital Health Guidelines development group. Follow @Oommen_john and @GeorgeInstIN to keep up-to-date on social media.