The Health Innovations Conference will create opportunities to initiate collaborative efforts in Health Innovation with representatives from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), Clarke Group, CryptoSavannah, Case Hospital, Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC), United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Andela Uganda and Janssen, the Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson and Johnson. It will be attended by members of various fields such as innovations, health, last mile health and bioinformatics.

The conference will be housed by the Ugandan Academy for Health Innovation and Impact, a project housed within the Infectious Diseases Institute (IDI), Makerere University and established in 2015 from an MOU between Ministry of Health, Infectious Diseases Institute, Janssen, the Pharmaceutical companies of Johnson & Johnson and the Johnson & Johnson Corporate Citizenship Trust. The Ugandan Academy’s core function is to improve health outcomes for people living with or affected by HIV and TB through innovations in clinical care, capacity building, systems strengthening and research, which inform policy and practice.

The inaugural Health Innovations conference in March 2018, convened a rich audience of government representatives, medical professionals, researchers, students, IT professionals and the media, among others. Highlights included a session on Blockchain in Health, lightening talks by young researchers, and speakers such as Hon. Elioda Tumwesigye, Dr Alex Coutinho and Blockchain expert Prof. Garrick Hileman. In this second instalment, The Ugandan Academy hopes to bring together an even richer cohort of 250 stakeholders from various sectors considering the diversity of our programme and scope. The riveting line-up will cover most of the aspects of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

This year’s theme is “Sustainable Health for all: Harnessing the Fourth Industrial Revolution” which generally focuses on how various aspects of new, old, high and lo-tech can effectively be used to improve health. It will cover four areas;

  • Accelerating innovations into practice
  • No people left behind-‘Lo-tech and the last mile’
  • People, processes and products
  • Arts for health and social change.

Some of the esteemed speakers include Kwame Rugunda, Chairman Blockchain Association Uganda, Ian Clarke, Chairman Clarke Group, Mike Tartakovsky, the Chief Information Officer and Director of the Office of Cyber Infrastructure and Computational Biology (OCICB) for the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the US and Carol Kyozira, Ag. Assistant Commissioner (DHI), Ministry of Health (MOH).

The conference will also showcase the establishment of a bioinformatics centre in Uganda funded by the NIH Foundation. This unit is provisionally named the African Centre of Excellence in Bioinformatics (ACE). First of its kind in the region and based at the IDI Makerere University premises, the ACE will be a centre for computational biology and big data analysis. As a climax to the Health Innovations conference, the ACE in Bioinformatics will officially open on March 21st, 2019 at IDI Makerere.

To showcase how technology can be used for sustainable health for all, Andela Uganda will spearhead a public Hackathon around “Technology or all, no one left behind”. The IDI-Andela Health Hackathon (#AndelaHealthHack) will be held at the Serena Hotel, over 2 days. It will bring together techies, from both Andela and the wider tech ecosystem, with health professionals for 17 hrs non-stop hacking. The aim of #AndelaHealthHack is to create mobile-based solutions around sustainable health for all; with the top 3 teams receiving grant writing support from the IDI team and a cash prize.