Meet the winners of the Champions of Science
Africa Innovation Challenge 2.0
A total amount of US $300,000 will be awarded to the winning teams
Africa Innovation Challenge 2.0 health care categories
60-80% of households in Africa still rely on traditional medicine to care for themselves and loved ones. 1 1 Paulo Peter Mhame, Kofi Busia and Ossy MJ Kasilo. Clinical practices of African traditional medicine. WHO: The African Health Monitor Special Issue 13, August 2010. Accessed online: http://ahm.afro.who.int/issue13/index.html We are seeking naturally-derived, plant-based solutions that tap into traditional knowledge and deliver consumer health and wellness benefits through topical application.
Caring for someone with mental illness, especially the youth, can be very challenging for rural communities. As a result, 75-85% of persons living with mental illness in Africa may not have access to mental health care. 2 2 World Health Organization. Discussion Paper: Mental health, poverty and development. ECOSOC Meeting Discussion Paper, July 2009. Accessed online: http://www.who.int/nmh/publication... We are seeking innovations that create awareness for mental illness as a public health problem and offer solutions for patients, caregivers, and their communities to address these issues.
Managing packaging waste from the increasing consumption in Africa is a challenge for many communities. We are seeking sustainable innovations for packaging of single-dose units and other affordable product sizes that will reduce or eliminate waste, while protecting the product.
Health Worker Support
African frontline health workers experience high rates of stress and burnout due to the heavy burden of disease and marked health system challenges. We are seeking innovations that support the wellbeing and resilience of nurses, midwives, and community health workers at the heart of delivering care.
Digital Health Tools
The African continent has the world's poorest health outcomes, with HIV, TB, Mental Health, Maternal Health and Ebola having especially large impact particularly on women. We are seeking digital tools (including apps and other mobile/web/data enabled tech) for these important health care areas that can inform, educate, communicate and connect people to treatment, support and care through their reach and information and improve health outcomes especially for women.
Essential Surgical Care
A significant portion of the burden of disease in Africa can be treated with surgery. However, many health facilities in certain areas do not have the capacity to deliver even basic surgical services. We are seeking innovations that promote access to timely, safe, and skilled surgical care.
Why this challenge matters to us
The Johnson & Johnson Credo lies at the heart of every aspect of our operations throughout the world. It is our undertaking to be agents of positive change in the countries in which we operate and the communities in which we live and work.
Johnson & Johnson’s engagement in Africa dates back more than 80 years in over 25 countries. Beyond our growing commercial presence, we have worked extensively with partners based in Africa and internationally to support the underserved in local communities.
To that end, Johnson & Johnson supports the Champions of Science Africa Innovation Challenge, to encourage entrepreneurial thinking in Africa and the creation of health care solutions that address the critical unmet needs of the continent and her people.
Johnson & Johnson is not granted any rights in the ideas of applicants to the African Innovation Challenge as a result of their participation in the challenge. Applicants and winners remain free to continue the further development of their ideas on their own.
Learn more about the application process
The submitted health care solutions were evaluated based on their ability to meet the following criteria:
- Idea submission addresses at least one of the six challenge categories (Botanical Solutions; Packaging Innovations; Mental Health; Health Worker Support; Digital Health Tools; Essential Surgical Care).
- Idea submission is innovative and creative.
- Idea submission is scalable.
- Idea submission outlines how the award would help the applicant(s) reach a critical milestone within the timeframe of a single year and provides a full commercialization plan.
The application period is now closed.
Meet the mentors from
Johnson & Johnson
R&D Project Leader J&J
I’m more than passionate about Africa, I am African! I strongly believe that the spirit, the creativity and the resourcefulness of local people will transform the continent.
So if you are trying to solve a problem that is a need in the community, the Africa Innovation Challenge may help you develop your solution, and I can’t wait to see that happen.
Scientist Sun Care Product Development
I am passionate about helping people in our world to have a better quality of life. Identifying opportunities for countries that are still under development is a wonderful way to live our Credo.
Manager Femcare R&D
I like to work on innovation-driven and creative projects that can positively impact people’s lives, and can also provide business relevance that can lead to continuity. Being a part of the Africa Innovation Challenge will help me to learn more about Africa and its challenges, and I’m looking forward for another motivating experience.
Senior Scientist, Global Oral Care
I am most passionate about education, community outreach, and youth. I enjoy traveling to several schools year-round to share my story in hopes of motivating, encouraging, and inspiring underserved and underrepresented populations to shoot for the stars. My goal is to show them that your background or past does not predict your success or your future.
Sabrina R. Henry
Senior Scientist, Adult Skincare Franchise
My two utmost passions are education and youth. I light up when I can speak to someone about gaining interest or advice on their educational plan/path. I love pouring into young people from different walks of life - encouraging and inspiring in any way I can through my story.
Senior Scientist, Consumer R&D
I am passionate about people and education. I believe that we should contribute to creating better opportunities for everyone to develop their capabilities and live their mission. Being engaged in the Africa Innovation Challenge connects with my personal values and vision of life, in a dimension and relevance that is only feasible through respecting diverse cultures and connecting with people that aim to impact other's lives.
Manager Insights & Experience Strategy, Johnson & Johnson Design
I’m passionate about helping people live happy, healthy, and productive lives regardless of where they are born. I’m eager to help support passionate entrepreneurs and impactful ideas for social good.
Raw Material Qualifications Support
With unemployment being one of the key problems facing Africa, entrepreneurship has never been more important to the continent. However, while businesses are continuously being created in the areas of retail, financial services, fashion, and e-commerce, there are few successes in scientific and technological innovation. Having lived most of my life in Nigeria (and with my heart still there), I am excited about the Africa Innovation Challenge’s mission to promote this type of innovation. My hope is that this challenge will help stimulate an interest in science beyond oil and gas, and economic growth.
Mary Mwende Alex Ndandi
Marketing Graduate Trainee
I am passionate about my continent and even more passionate about young people in Africa. AIC gives me the opportunity to engage in a life changing project that will impact African youth. I am in love with AIC because it sources solutions from local people for local problems/gaps.
Senior Manager, IT
The AIC supports incredible people working to drive real and positive changes within their communities. Any one of the ideas coming forward carry the potential to improve lives. The AIC helps to identify the ideas with the highest potential impact and to make sure teams have support resources to act on it. If you have an idea, are driven to make it real for your community, and want a collaborative team to support you - we are very excited to partner with you.
Wanda Azu Owoh
Global Consumer Regulatory Affairs Fellow
The African Innovation Challenge is the perfect venue to exercise my two passions - youth empowerment and health care advancement. I am thrilled to be participating in an initiative that recognizes African change agents making an impact in their communities!
Program Logistics Assistant, Global Public Health
I am a huge believer of the ingenuity, creativity, and innovation within the African continent. Unfortunately, this has always been stifled by a lack of opportunities. The African Innovation Challenge is the platform that these innovators need to thrive as they solve Africa’s major health challenges. I am super excited to be part of this and to see more innovators in Africa get the support they need to grow and impact more lives across the continent.
Senior Project Leader, J&J Consumer R&D Europe
I used to be fond of Africa. Then I spent year 2018 working in East and Southern Africa. Now I am in love with Africa. The creativity, the energy, the youthfulness that prevail here overcome all the challenges and put Africa at the heart of tomorrow’s innovations. Through the AIC, I want to be part of this movement by supporting great people serving great purpose.
Scientist, Janssen R&D
While I love living in the United States, I'm interested in returning to Africa one day. So much still needs to be done there, including closing health care disparity gaps, and I would relish the opportunity to be involved in such efforts. Being a member of the J&J Africa Innovation Challenge team is a privilege and affords the opportunity to help identify the best of African entrepreneurship and innovation for the development of value-based solutions relevant to the continent and global health care.
Associate Director, J&J Consumer R&D
I'm convinced that we need to bring back humanity as a focal point in all business, caring more about people and caring more about our beautiful planet Earth. The Africa Innovation Challenge is fully aligned with this vision of the world and the perfect opportunity to share my personal values and create a real social and environmental impact. I'm very proud to be part of the J&J mentors and can't wait to meet our African entrepreneurs full of incredible ideas to change the life of local communities!!
Project Leader, Johnson & Johnson R&D Europe
I´m passionate about supporting energetic people with drive, self-reflection and empathy and am a true believer that Entrepreneurship is much more than having a brilliant idea. Therefore, I'm looking forward to being part of the AIC which can empower founders to lift and pursue their developed business ideas to bring true value for the underserved and unsung people in need.
Medical Science Liaison, Janssen
Being a part of the Africa Innovation Challenge is such an incredible opportunity – the amount of passion and innovation that goes into creating impactful health solutions is just astonishing. As someone who strives to use my skills to make positive change in the world, I look forward to being able to support such inspiring entrepreneurs to bring transformation and novel health services to local communities throughout Africa.
Associate Director, Packaging Engineering
Working at Johnson & Johnson allows me the opportunity to think, innovate and change people’s lives globally. Joining the Africa Innovation Challenge allows me to truly live into Our Credo by being a good citizen to the global community and encouraging civic improvements, and better health and education worldwide. As an Innovator, this program will give you the platform to share, grow, and build your ideas with global insights and thinking! The impact you can have on the world is tremendous! Being on the Africa Innovation Challenge Team has been a highlight of my career at J&J. I have never felt so rewarded, excited, and motivated to do more. I cannot wait to share in the passion of the innovators to help them succeed!
Lead Software Developer, J&J Headquarters
I believe that empowering the future entrepreneurs and innovators of Africa means helping them unlock their potential by leveraging the power of technology. I believe the best solutions for Africa will be built by Africans and that is especially true for health care. In partnering with the Africa Innovation Challenge, I hope to share my experience as an entrepreneur in Africa and help elevate health & wellness entrepreneurs.
Associate Scientist, J&J Consumer
I’m passionate about health care and nature. Plants are all around us and many times used in cultural applications. Through the African Innovation Challenge talented innovators will use local and sustainable plant-derived ingredients to shape consumer health care and business in Africa while bringing awareness to the Africa’s biodiversity!
Meet the Winners of Africa Innovation Challenge 2.0
An estimated six million babies do not receive treatment for neonatal jaundice because they lack access to effective phototherapy devicesI. If untreated, severe jaundice can cause hearing loss, mental retardation, cerebral palsy, kernicterus and even death. Crib A’glow is a solar-powered, foldable phototherapy crib provided to hospitals, health centers and parents, even in communities where access to quality healthcare and stable electricity is poor. Crib A’glow allows jaundiced babies to receive important phototherapy to help them regain health.
More than 460 million people around the world are hearing-impairedII, and two-thirds of them live in developing countriesIII. Hearing loss can lead to unnecessary poverty and hardship in affected families and communities. DREET is a mobile phone app that allows a child in rural Africa to have their hearing tested in real time by a professional who may live thousands of miles away. Their phone-based hearing device tests the hearing in children as young as three years old, allowing parents to prepare and understand impacts of raising a hearing-impaired child, or counteracting potential developmental issues such as speech impediments due to hearing impairment.
The lack of an established blood supply network in Nigeria can make access to appropriate blood transfusion very difficult and is contributing to loss of lifeIV. LifeBank is working to change this dynamic. The company receives requests through a digital platform with the intent of delivering the necessary blood to hospitals in less than 45 minutes in a WHO Blood Transfusion Safety compliant cold chain.
The WHO recommends at least one ultrasound scan before 24 weeks’ gestation and eight total prenatal visits for expecting mothersV. Rural communities often lack access to ultrasound machines, requiring expecting mothers to spend valuable time, energy and resources on transportation to far away clinics in order to access ultrasound services. mSCAN’s device performs ultrasounds through the use of a portable probe and a tablet, laptop, or smartphone, allowing trained healthcare workers and midwives to be prepared for potential risk-factors during delivery.
The Hope Initiative
More than 50 percent of emergency care workers are at high risk for burnout given the nature of their jobsVI. The Hope Initiative builds upon research that has demonstrated the positive influence of intrinsic hope on health outcomes of healthcare workers and their patients. Using a validated metric, The Hope Initiative intends to measure hope among nurses and mothers to understand how hope intersects with healthcare worker burnout and perinatal health outcomes. The Initiative intends to identify interventions that positively influence hope and build both a sustainable team of healthcare workers and sustainable improvements in patient outcomes.
Uganda has one of the highest malaria transmission rates in the worldVII, and malaria is also one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in Uganda, especially among children under five years old . Commercial mosquito repellent sprays or gels are often not available in rural shops nor are they affordable for many low-income parents. Uganics manufactures an organic, affordable soap that repels mosquitos with intent to help prevent the spread of malaria. Uganics’ soap can be utilized in a variety of ways, such as bathing, washing hands and washing clothes.
Meet the Winners of Africa Innovation Challenge 1.0
With Johnson & Johnson’s support, Mahmud was able to create 330 new jobs in Liberia, broaden his product portfolio of organic palm kernel oil cosmetics and grow sales by 1100%.
After one year of support, patent and trademark applications have been filed for the PedalTap™ device, the device is now being manufactured in Uganda, and the device has been installed in several public bathrooms, reducing the risk of infection and saving water.
J&J mentoring and funding helped Francoise to scale up production of Agateka pads fourfold, opening 2 new manufacturing locations and creating training and permanent jobs for 20 young women.