News and Opinions  –  2022

Innovate4Health: 16 finalists from 12 countries!

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Sixteen finalist teams have been selected for the Innovate4health global design sprint, representing a new generation of innovators that will address the challenges of emerging infectious diseases.

Via this sprint, university and graduate-level student innovators from across the globe propose creative solutions to address the growing challenge that emerging infections such as antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and COVID-19 pose. Learn more about the finalist teams and their ideas.

Here you see Team REPROSmart presenting at the Global AMR Youth Summit held 17-19 November. Photo: ReAct North America.

1 in 4 teams selected

Only one out of four teams were selected to this year’s cohort of 16 finalist teams across 12 different countries. The teams have put forward promising solutions to a wide variety of challenges, including vaccinating homeless populations in Brazil, building upon the “suki culture” to connect small-scale farmers to veterinarians in the Philippines, using mobile phone apps to improve tuberculosis treatment adherence in Kenya or to alert a community to wildlife-transmitted rabies in Colombia, raising awareness over the potential contribution of micro-plastic pollution to antimicrobial resistance or antimicrobial use in grocery chain food products.

Present at Global AMR Youth Summit

Select teams had the opportunity to present a poster at the Global Youth AMR Summit on November19th, with all teams having their posters featured in a virtual poster session starting during World Antimicrobial Awareness Week.

Innovate4Health design sprint is sponsored by ReAct, the International Federation of Medical Students Association (IFMSA) and the Innovation + Design Enabling (IDEA) Access Initiative at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

The 16 Innovate4Health finalist teams

1.Team Elian

Affiliation: University of Nairobi
Region: Africa
Country of Residence: Kenya

Team Elian has created a system that improves tuberculosis treatment adherence and tuberculosis treatment success rates by sending reminders to patients with tuberculosis via their mobile phones throughout their treatment course. It supports their mental health throughout the tuberculosis treatment via encouraging text messages and a celebratory countdown of the remaining number of days till treatments ends.

It also offers patient education regarding the benefits of completing the full tuberculosis treatment course, tuberculosis danger signs of treatment failure, adverse effects of tuberculosis drugs, and what course of action to take in unfavorable circumstances. The platform also allows health providers to track the treatment course of their patients and prescribe refills of drugs when they are about to run out.

2. Team KONIC

Affiliation: University of Nigeria, Federal University Dutsin-Ma, University of Port Harcourt, Obafemi Awolowo University, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology
Region: Africa
Countries of Residence: Nigeria, Ghana

Team KONIC proposes the development and deployment of a mobile application to monitor the supply chain of antimicrobials in the food system in Northern Nigeria, and educate farmers on antimicrobial resistance and sustainable farming practices through a user-friendly mobile SMARF App. The App will provide Unique Identification Numbers (UIN) to farmers, veterinarians, animal scientists, diagnostic laboratories and pharmaceutical stores.

The SMARF App will contain details and contact information of all the veterinarians and animal scientists that are signed into it, and farmers can then navigate to this section to contact the professionals that are located the closest to them.

The SMARF App will also show prescribed drugs and laboratory results on the farmer’s profile and uses the farmers’ UIN to ensure that pharmacists can only sell drugs upon validating their prescription. This innovation will ensure that antimicrobials are only sold to farmers who genuinely need them and will resultingly reduce the arbitrary use of antimicrobials.

Look at Team KONIC poster

3. Team Ugnayan

Affiliation: St. Luke’s Medical Center College of Medicine
Region: Asia
Countries of Residence: Philippines

Team Ugnayan’s social innovation focuses on a novel framework that streamlines resources for small-scale farmers, veterinarians, and farm supply stores to build interconnectivity and assign them to more appropriate roles.

Specifically, Team Ugnayan plans to address the following problems:

  1. the scarcity of veterinarians in rural areas
  2. the ease of access to antibiotics from the dispensing of supply stores, and
  3. the fragmented workflow that ‘connects’ farmers to veterinarians.

Their innovation leverages the heavy technological opportunities that arose from the COVID-19 pandemic in order to address the physical distance gap between veterinarians and farmers.

The role of public-private partnerships and economic incentives meant to incentivize satisfactory behaviors for all social actors involves the introduction of targeted, user-centered content in a form of a handbook that pushes for awareness about antimicrobial resistance among farmers at the grassroots level. This will also tap into the proximity of stores to farmers and the “suki culture” to connect farmers to veterinarians.

Look at Team Ugnayan poster

4. DrogAbot

Affiliation: College of Medicine, University of the Philippines Manila
Region: Asia
Countries of Residence: Philippines

Team DrogAbot aims to develop an accessible and secure chat box that redirects users to nearby public healthcare pharmacies that can supply identified medications for prevalent diseases for free.

This will involve collaborating with rural health units and the Drugstores Association of the Philippines (DSAP), identifying the inventory management of these RHU’s, designing a database with their updated stocks, and developing a chat box that utilizes this database to inform users about the nearest capable pharmacy.

DrugAbot hopes to test this in the community of Pagsanjan, Laguna, and determine the effectiveness of this project through the use of an in-chat evaluation prompt. They believe this innovation will remove barriers in medication procurement, and improve treatment adherence for patients with non-communicable diseases such as DM and HPN, and infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and CAP. With increased completion of drug treatment, there is hope for a lower incidence of drug resistance for infectious diseases.

Look at Team DrogAbot poster

5. OAZIS Health

Affiliation: University of Rwanda, Kibogora Polytechnic
Region: Africa
Countries of Residence: Rwanda

Team Oazis Health’s project seeks to create a community of young antimicrobial resistance media activists with long term awareness-raising projects (selected through competition), on the implications of antimicrobial resistance.

This will accelerate antimicrobial resistance prevention program in Rwanda through making it a media friendly topic.

6. AMR Champions

Affiliation: Copperbelt University
Region: Africa
Countries of Residence: Zambia

Team AMR Champions’s proposed innovation involves a problem-solving project that regulates drug dispensing and simultaneously improves data gathering on antimicrobial use in livestock. In order to achieve this, we assign livestock farmers personalized cards that specifically allow them to buy antimicrobials from animal health outlets via an automated antibiotic dispensing machine.

Since farmers must register their personal and farm credentials before receiving a card, our innovation will ensure that:

  1. only authorized farmers will have access to antimicrobials and
  2. only the necessary antibiotics are dispensed. These cards will essentially substitute the use of cash in antimicrobial purchase, and in doing so, will help monitor the amount and type of antimicrobials that are being utilized in livestock.

Look at Team AMR Champions poster

7. REPROSmart

Affiliation: University of Indonesia
Region: Asia
Countries of Residence: Indonesia

Team REPROSmart (All-in-one Reproductive Smart Assistant) aims to develop an online platform that allows our users to safely procure necessary at-home tests for sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy, and contraceptives anonymously and conveniently. Reproductive health is considered taboo in many parts of the world, including Indonesia; meanwhile, this taboo can cause discomfort and stigma for those purchasing sex-related products and prevent people from seeking medical attention for certain conditions such as unwanted pregnancies.

This innovation would help to address these barriers to access. Users will also have the opportunity to receive sound advice from REPROSmart’s intelligent AI-based chatbots regarding their conditions, and if need be, request tele-consultation with physicians and therapists to help them navigate through these difficult situations. This team’s approach is simple, scalable, and ensures anonymity, allowing for a direct impact on the health and well-being of more than 200 million Indonesians across the archipelago.

Look at Team REPROSmart poster


Affiliation: Universidad del Rosario
Region: Latin America
Countries of Residence: Colombia

The UR Observatory for Antimicrobial Resistance in Animals aims to achieve short-term, intermediate, and long-term change. Our main goal is to decrease AMU in livestock practices so that there is reduced antimicrobial resistance prevalence in Colombia, where data is not available. We plan to achieve this through the interrelated pathways of our activities-outputs-outcomes.

First, we plan to collect data on AMR in foodborne pathogens associated with antimicrobial resistance in humans and utilize this big data and BC to conduct an epidemiological analysis and supply chain traceability study. Second, we hope to utilize our results to advise food-chain stakeholders on how less antimicrobial resistance can be a more efficient practice. Lastly, we hope to educate the general public on the importance of safety and caution while using antibiotics.

Through a pilot project in Cundinamarca, a highly productive livestock region, we hope to study the usage of antimicrobials in dairy products, one of Colombia’s most structurally organized animal-production industries. This pathway will leverage the One Health approach (human-animal-environmental health) to improve health equity.

Look at Team AGRIDATA COL poster

9. Rabisensores’

Affiliation: University of the Andes
Region: Latin America
Country of Residence: Colombia

Team Rabisensores’ project aims to promote an integrated web of community surveillance of Rabies in the country. It is modeled after a program designed by the Colombian Agricultural Institute (ICA) called Sensors.

The goal of Sensors is to obtain information about special health situations from local leaders (i.e., farmers, companies, and health workers) who have received training in certain health issues among nationwide animals, products or crops. The team hope to design an app that presents essential facts to aid the sensors in identifying and alerting their community about wild-life transmitted rabies to domestic animals, ensuring that each suspected case is forwarded to the Colombian Agricultural Institute.

One of their reasons for promoting this tool is to facilitate continuous training with the Sensors. In doing so, the team will be able to provide them with new information about rabies outbreaks in their area while also promoting new modes of Rabies-spread prevention in the agricultural supply chain.

Look at Team AGRIDATA COL poster

10. Vax4All

Affiliation: Universidade Estadual do Ceará
Region: Latin America
Country of Residence: Brazil

Team Vax4All aims to develop a multitude of specific health education intervention courses in order to counter the rapidly growing, global anti-vaccination movement. The team noted that in recent years many vaccines have been made freely available through the Unified Health System of the Ministry of Health in Brazil, but the bulk of the homeless population did not receive any immunizations against various infectious diseases.

The reasons for not receiving vaccinations range from difficulty in traveling to the vaccination site to the prejudice induced from health professionals and other patients when using Unified Health System. This has led team Vax4All to develop this education-based project to combat these deterring forces and increase vaccination rates for the whole population.

Look at Team Vax4All poster

11. SANITeam

Affiliation: Nanjing Medical University
Region: Asia
Country of Residence: India

Team SANITeam’s project revolves around the main problem of micro-plastics, plastisphere, and emerging antimicrobial resistant bacteria. Most of the water supplies in socioeconomically disadvantaged homes in India lack the proper facilities and drainage systems to remove micro-plastics from their water, which leads to an increase in antimicrobial resistant bacterial infections.

This growing trend in antimicrobial resistant bacterial GIT disease has been mainly attributed to the organisms Vibrio, E. coli, Rotavirus, Cryptosporidium, Giardia, all of which can cause severe damage if not treated in a timely manner. Therefore, the team’s project is focused on curbing this growth by promoting the usage of cost-effective facilities, such as government subsidized RO water purifier systems for individual houses.

Additionally, they are working to set up ecological and economical water treatment plants in each village/town, educational workshops by PHCs, and connected Proper Sewage Systems-Treatment plants systems.

SANITeam hopes that by instituting these changes, we can witness a sharp decrease in antimicrobial resistant infections and other bacteria.

Look at Team SANITeam poster


Affiliation: Baroda Medical College, Parul Institute of Medical Science and Research
Region: Asia
Countries of Residence: India

Team PEDIA-SCRIPTION aims to develop a prescription module that supports the prescribing behavior of doctors to ensure that the right antibiotic is available and of use for pediatric pneumonia patients. The module capitalizes on accessible data platforms to complement existing knowledge of gaps in antimicrobial supply chain with as a smart decision-supporting tool.

Specifically, after taking in inputs about the “Diagnosis” and the “Region of Practice”, the tool draws from clinical and drug resistance databases to convey information regarding the desired treatment, alternative antibiotic treatments, and the general prescribing behavior of medical providers in the same region.

Overall, team PEDIA-SCRIPTION aims to institutionalize their tool and curb the rates of medical overprescribing of antimicrobials.

Look at Team PEDIA-SCRIPTON poster

13. Team Panacea

Affiliation: Ahmadu Bello University
Region: Africa
Country of Residence: Nigeria

Team Panacea’s project involves creating an app (Panacea) which would contain a database that stores the results of routine hygienic checks of food that is prepared and sold in restaurants.

Through the app, this database would be readily available and accessible for students to check and confirm the hygienic status of the restaurants that they eat at. In order to stunt the spread of typhoid, the app would also include infographics in English, Hausa, Yoruba, and Igbo to educate students about the dangers of typhoid fever and offer prevention tips and policies.

This system of education and advocacy will be imperative in diminishing the prevalence of typhoid fever among university students. The project will also reinforce restaurants to prepare food in hygienic environments before it is set aside for public consumption.

Look at Team Panacea poster

14. H.P. Busters

Affiliation: Nanjing Medical University
Region: Asia
Countries of Residence: Sri Lanka, India

Team H.P Buster aims to combat H. pylori infection rates and improve patient adherence to antibiotic treatment using a platform known as STAR, a mini program running on WeChat. The platform serves to educate patients on potential side effects of treatment and how to minimize them as well as offering them a platform to keep track of their daily antibiotic schedule.

Furthermore, H.P. Buster aims to encourage testing for H. pylori among university students through awareness programs and social media advertising via university clubs. Additionally, they plan on investigating the social and cultural practices that have led to this rampant spread of H. pylori infections and leverage the power of social media to educate the population on proper hygienic practices.

Look at Team H.P. Busters poster

15. GatorBugs

Affiliation: University of Florida
Region: North America
Country of Residence: United States

Team GatorBugs’s project aims to intervene in consumer behavior to increase demand for antibiotic-free animal products in grocery stores. Their team will work to assess the effects of an awareness intervention package against antibiotic use in the food system on animal product consumption patterns.

GatorBugs is developing an Antibiotics Free Index (AFI), which indicates availability of antibiotic-free products in the store and includes it in the intervention content. Through mass communication, they aim to influence consumer behavior, ultimately increasing the demand for antibiotics-free animal products.

Look at Team GatorBugs poster

16. DvX

Affiliation: Johns Hopkins University
Region: North America
Country of Residence: United States

Team DvX aims to develop a Real Time Location System (RTLS) and AI-enabled C. difficile tracking and detection device. Currently, many hospitals, including the one Daphne is training in, use dogs to sniff for C. difficile. After the dogs’ alert for C. difficile, the patient is tested/the room is swabbed for samples, tested, and then quarantined until the patient is cleared after a course of antibiotics.

The infection is causing preventable morbidity and mortality. Even though C. difficile is the most frequent cause of infectious diarrhea in hospitals and long-term care facilities in Canada and the current sniff–test–contain–control regimen is highly costly for health care systems, there is currently minimal innovation in this arena. Team DvX’s innovation would be transformative and scalable.

Teams are coached

Throughout the global design sprint, teams continue to develop their project and hone their approach to advocate and engage key stakeholders. Teams receive expert coaching on behavior change strategies. Along the way, teams will produce a social media strategy, pen a blog to advocate for public and policymaker attention to their target issue, and put together a pitch presentation for an expert panel. Innovate4Health also works to amplify awareness and action on the health equity dimensions of their projects.

Innovate4Health seeks to train and nurture the next generation of champions to tackle emerging infectious diseases, and in particular, antimicrobial resistance. Across innovation pillars focused on healthcare delivery, the food system and the community, their solutions are tackling these challenges in their local contexts, while the teams collectively as a cohort are building a community of innovators having the shared inspiration of making change. A summary of all sixteen finalist teams can be found here and below.

To learn more, please visit the Innovate4Health website

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