Social Innovation in Health Initiative
Key Personnel of Core
Prof. DON P. MATHANGA (SIHI Malawi Director)
Don is a medical doctor and epidemiologist with broad research interests in infectious diseases. He is an Associate Professor in Public Health at the College of Medicine University of Malawi. He is also Director at the Malaria Alert Center, a regional resource center specializing in building capacity, through research, for scaling up effective health interventions.
- We have conducted 3 national crowdsourcing contests to identify locally developed and implemented health solutions to Malawi’s key health challenges. This initiative has identified 80 Malawian innovators projects and 20 innovations shortlisted as high-value social innovations, all reviewed by our expert review panel.
- We supported 8 research projects including 6 case studies and thematic research study. The case studies have been conducted and 4 have an innovation focus on primary healthcare. These cases are led by 5 cross sectoral and multidisciplinary partnerships, for profit organization and a social hybrid enterprise. All case studies are available for free download at: www.socialinnovationinhealth.org/case-studies.
- We have awarded 3 student research grants. To build greater capacity for research in social innovation in health, we have been supporting students at the School of Public Health at the University of Malawi. In 2018-19, 3 research grants have been awarded to the value of $1,250 each. Studies conducted include a focus on community-based health insurance and disabilities. Grantees receive support and mentorship from senior public health researchers.
- In 2018 and 2019 we hosted gatherings with all shortlisted innovators to share lessons from the research, network and explore areas for support and collaboration. We have conducted 8 gatherings and convened 40 people from 11 countries.
- We have enhanced collaboration with universities and connected with 6 universities and colleges
- Through our support for social innovations in health, we have supported 20 innovators. We have also developed 3 courses and tools to support innovation. We have trained 8 female researchers.
Core Work Areas
LearnWe identify, promote and research local innovations to learn about how these solutions can help strengthen the Malawian health system.
CONNECT and SHAREWe provide a platform for all individuals and organisations interested in social innovation in health to network, share, and collaborate.
SUPPORTWe recognise, promote, and build skills of innovators to develop, implement and sustain citizen-led ideas to Malawi’s health challenges.
Activities of the Cores
- Learning about social innovation
- Connecting and sharing on social innovation
- Supporting social innovation
Since 2017, we have been conducting research to gain a deeper understanding of social innovation within the context of Malawi and their potential value for the health system. Our research has focused on identifying and studying specific social innovation cases and also on studying the processes by which these innovations can be adopted as part of the health system. The evidence generated on social innovation has helped to demystify what social innovation is and provide guidance to our policy makers and assisted in identifying areas where deeper investigation is required.
Our hub has served as a bridge to connect underserved communities, academia, private sector, innovators, organizations and government – Ministry of Health and other national institutions (National Commission of Science and Technology). We believe in a multi-disciplinary approach and share our knowledge around social innovation in healthcare with our partnerships. Sharing lessons learned and evidence, allows for other social innovation projects to be implemented more effectively and have a greater chance of success.
Since inception, the hub has championed social innovation in health within academia, government and our ecosystem. We have promoted and recognized innovations through traditional and social media platforms. We promote videos and programs through campaigns stimulating stakeholder conversations aimed at raising awareness. To stimulate and support citizen-led ideas and solutions, we transfer tools and knowledge, provide advisory services and linkages to opportunities including training. Our role is to enhance buy-in and increase collaboration with social innovations at community, organizational, district and national levels. We hope to improve access and healthcare delivery through strengthening understanding and application of this new approach to healthcare delivery.