Open Call: Building Resilient Health Systems through the COVID-19 Pandemic and Beyond

Annette Ozaltin
May 28, 2020 · 6 min read

What is the role of technology in building the resilience of health systems?

How can we use technology platforms and innovations to change the delivery models of health services, enabling prevention, health promotion, health education, surveillance, and service delivery?

How do we engage communities to increase trust in the health system, ensuring that people seek care when appropriate, and follow public health advice?

Which processes exist for collection and use of data to enable surveillance useful for immediate COVID-19 response and continued delivery of essential health services?

COVIDaction is issuing an open call to explore answers to these questions, surface technology and process innovations that address current challenges, and connect the most promising ideas with those supporting health systems in Africa and South Asia.

THE SITUATION

As part of the COVIDaction initiative, the Department for International Development (DFID) and its partners are pleased to announce the launch of the Resilient Health Systems Open Call for Innovations. The Open Call will explore the role of technology and innovations in supporting countries and their development partners to build resilient health systems as they respond to the COVID-19 crisis.

We know from the Ebola epidemic in West Africa that reductions in reproductive, maternal, newborn and child and adolescent health (RMNCAH) services persisted well beyond the crisis, and preventable deaths from measles, malaria, HIV/AIDS, and tuberculosis actually eclipsed deaths from Ebola due to service disruptions. Experts are concerned about the same patterns repeating with COVID-19. We are already seeing a decline in vaccination rates, facility births, and other health services as a result of the pandemic — and, as a result, there is a critical need to support countries in their efforts to maintain these essential health services.

The Open Call aims to focus attention and build community around an important part of the pandemic response: the maintenance of essential health services (RMNCAH, noncommunicable diseases, nutrition, malaria, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, etc.). These services are threatened by reduced access and limited utilisation due to resources being diverted for COVID-19 response, population hesitancy to seek care, postponement of routine and elective services, among other reasons.

OUR RESPONSE

We believe data and technology innovations have an important role to play in supporting countries to build resilient health systems through the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

COVIDaction invites applicants to submit innovations that have potential to address the biggest vulnerabilities of low- and lower-middle-income countries to be able to maintain essential health services while responding effectively to the immediate COVID-19 crisis. These vulnerabilities include:

1. Technology platforms and process innovations that support changes in the delivery models of health services, enabling prevention, health promotion, health education, surveillance, and service delivery. Focus areas may include:

2. Improved collection and use of data to enable surveillance useful for immediate COVID-19 response and tracking of other health conditions, and continued delivery of essential health services. Focus areas may include:

Addressing these vulnerabilities will support country health systems to better absorb the shocks from the current crisis, maintain services and functions throughout, and bounce back more quickly upon its conclusion. While tackling these vulnerabilities will not by themselves fully lead to resilience, we expect to see a positive impact on decision making, prioritisation, and targeting of the response, along with better preparedness for future shocks.

We are interested in data and technology innovations that:

THE OFFER

Selected applicants will receive:

SELECTION PROCESS

Applications will be evaluated using a two-stage selection process. In Stage 1, applicants will submit a brief proposal via an online application form. Applications will be reviewed by a selection panel comprising experts from DFID, other funders, and other technology and health system experts. Applications will be scored based on their strategic relevance to the call theme, transformational impact, feasibility, and collaboration and commitment amongst partners/stakeholders.

The highest-ranking applicants will be shortlisted and advanced to Stage 2. They will be invited to virtual Resilient Health Systems Innovation matchmaking events, where innovators will be connected with donors and investors for onward collaboration.

HOW TO APPLY

To apply, please see here. Expect to spend 1 hour to complete the form.

Nous acceptons les applications en français. Si vous souhaitez une version française du formulaire, veuillez envoyer votre demande à l’e-mail ci-dessous.

TIMELINE

Applications open: Thursday, 28th May

Questions due: Thursday, 11th June

Application deadline: Thursday, 18th June (11:59pm GMT)

Innovation matchmaking events: 30th June–10th July

Final selection for Stage 2: Friday, 10th July

WHY WE’RE DOING THIS

This is part of an initiative led by DFID’s Frontier Technologies Hub, i.e. COVIDaction: Building a Technology and Innovation Pipeline for the COVID Pandemic, for more on the initiative please see here.

It is important to note that as part of COVIDaction, we have also launched a Data Challenge (deadline 18th of May). The COVIDaction Data Challenge sourced 339 tools and sources being used by the development community in response to the pandemic. The COVIDaction Resilient Health Systems Call will support those applying these tools and sources (and others not covered by the Data Challenge) in specific country contexts, leveraging ongoing initiatives or programmes to ensure the maintenance of essential health services.

CONTACT EMAIL

covidaction-resilience@hellobrink.co

Many thanks for your interest in COVIDaction, and we look forward to hearing from you!

COVIDaction

Building a Technology and Innovation Pipeline for the COVID-19 Pandemic

COVIDaction

COVIDaction, a partnership between UKAid, UCL Institute of Healthcare Engineering and Global Disability Innovation Hub, alongside others, is building a tech and innovation pipeline to support action related to the COVID-19 pandemic across different thematic areas

Annette Ozaltin

Written by

Senior Fellow, Results for Development

COVIDaction

COVIDaction, a partnership between UKAid, UCL Institute of Healthcare Engineering and Global Disability Innovation Hub, alongside others, is building a tech and innovation pipeline to support action related to the COVID-19 pandemic across different thematic areas