“Health innovations continue to play a fundamental role in promoting equitable and quality low-cost solutions addressing existing and arising healthcare issues in developing countries.”
By Phidilliah Mwaambi, co-authored by Marloes Kibacha and Nduta Kuria
Investment in health innovations not only transforms lives but also improves the quality of life for many individuals, especially vulnerable groups in society. Therefore, it is key for every stakeholder to seek to support the scale-up of health innovations beyond the proof-of-concept stage and help innovators grow so as to provide continuous access to affordable healthcare solutions for better health outcomes.
Innovation is the bedrock of developing, growing and building a sustainable economy. It also provides every nation with the opportunity to create new products and services that improve efficacy, efficiency and quality while providing a competitive edge at an affordable price. Investment in innovation, especially in developing countries, is a strategic pathway to growing and expanding the economy and creating employment for the growing population. At a local level, it provides the means to developing feasible, applicable and scalable solutions to existing and recurring problems while at an international level it translates to setting the pace for investing in research and development for innovations that are context specific.
Innovators and stakeholder support = sustainable impact
In order to successfully achieve growth, innovators need to understand that scaling requires stakeholder involvement at every stage of the innovation cycle. Stakeholder involvement is a crucial component that cannot be ignored by the innovator. Specifically, innovators who seek to scale within the public health sector will be required to have a background understanding of the priority areas of the public health sector to solving existing and or recurring health issues. This will enable them to align the innovation with the priority areas of the public health sector and equip them to narrow down on the specific stakeholders they need to target. Thus, stakeholder mapping is important to the innovator, as it helps them to know and understand the role of each stakeholder including their responsibilities and deliverables to the public health sector.
Strategic partnerships with the public and private sector
The public health sector does not function in a silo but in collaboration with the private health sector, development and smart partners who share a common interest in contributing towards better health outcomes. This expands the pool of possible stakeholders to those who collaborate with the public health
sector to address health issues. In order to build a strong foundation for stakeholder engagement, innovators should develop a criteria of stakeholder involvement based on a stakeholder influence and interest matrix, which largely affects the decisions made as a joint task force to ensure the innovation is successful. Hence, stakeholder mapping is amongst one of the most important recurring steps that an innovator has to consider at every stage of innovation cycle (idea generation and mobilization -> advocacy and screening -> experimentation -> commercialisation -> diffusion and mobilization).
AHB provides health innovators business advisory and coaching sessions to better understand their key challenges.
We provide research and advisory services that and in work in partnership with innovators, the private sector and the
public sector to create workable and sustainable solutions and formulated workplans with impact and scalability. We
also facilitate the development of new healthcare solutions by providing innovators public sector scaling support. As
an example, we have provided public sector scaling support to maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH)