The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in partnership with United Nations Technology and Innovation Lab (UNTIL) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and in collaboration with Health 2.0, organized a Final Award Ceremony for Decoding Health.
The Decoding Health Challenge aimed to mobilize talent and technology to reduce premature deaths and illnesses caused by non-communicable diseases (NCDs). By focusing on prevention, we can save lives and avoid unnecessary suffering (as indicated in Sustainable Development Goal 3-Good Health and Well-Being). The Award Ceremony is sponsored by Etisalat Egypt and Novartis.
According to WHO, NCDs are the leading cause of death worldwide. According to the World Health Organization, NCDs, including heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, and chronic lung disease, are collectively responsible for almost 70% of all deaths worldwide. Furthermore, in Egypt, NCDs are currently the leading national cause of death and are estimated to account for 82% of all deaths and 67% of premature deaths.
The Award ceremony kicked off with a Demo Round, as eight health start-ups pitched their technological solutions to a diverse and experienced judging panel. The judging panel for Decoding Health was comprised of experts in the fields of entrepreneurship, healthcare, big data, and development.
Following the Demo Round, UN representatives for each participating entity delivered their opening speech. In addition, the award ceremony featured an expert panel from Cleopatra Hospitals, Novartis, Etisalat, and health-tech startup, Wikaya and they an engaging discussion about the role of the private sector in eradicating chronic diseases and the future of health start-ups. An overview of the competition process was also delivered by Health 2.0.
Three finalists’ teams, Mazbot, Dileny, and Helpee, were selected to pitch their solutions in a Final Demo round. The Judging Panel selected Mazbot as the winner of the Decoding Health Challenge, whereas Dileny and Helpee came in second and third place respectively.
The winning proposal presented by Mazbot was an application that empowers people with diabetes to self-manage their medical condition (glucose measurements, medications & required check-ups), and lifestyle (nutrition, physical activity & weight).
The Award Ceremony is the final phase of the Decoding Health Challenge. Earlier in November, a boot-camp featuring nine highly motivated health start-ups were shortlisted through a rigorous selection process. The boot-camp, hosted by Falak Startups, featured experts and mentors from various medical and technological entities that inducted the participants on theoretical and practical use-cases of big data in healthcare. Through an interactive match-making exercise with data scientists, eight teams proceeded to the finals and were supported through panels and mentoring sessions to develop viable models based on their proposed solutions.
Following the boot-camp, a tailored mentorship programme was launched by Health 2.0. The mentorship programme supported the start-ups in preparing a market-ready product, that could benefit NCD patients and people at risk of NCDs.
This Challenge is an activity launched as part of the 2019 edition of the ITU-UNESCO Regional Digital Inclusion Week for Arab States. Under the theme “Health, Education and Big Data for Enhancing Wellbeing”, the Week aimed to promote collaboration, and shed light on the game-changing role of digital inclusion and catalyze action to combat NCDs, which are today, the leading cause of deaths worldwide.
"The advances of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, including those brought on by a combination of computing power, robotics, big data and artificial intelligence, are generating revolutions in health care, transport and manufacturing.
I am convinced that these new capacities can help us to lift millions of people out of poverty, achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and enable developing countries to leap‑frog into a better future."
23 March 2018, New York