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WISH’s Young Innovators: where are they now?

In order to provide a platform for tomorrow’s most promising healthcare leaders, WISH created the Young Innovator’s Competition: a program that gives people under 30 the opportunity to present their healthcare-related products and innovations to an international audience of policy makers and influencers during at summits.

Like us, these young innovators recognize the importance of pairing innovative technologies with healthcare in order to benefit the global healthcare sector – and their efforts are beginning to grow wings.

Jocelyn Brown is the Product Manager of Medical Devices at 3rd Stone Design, based in California. At WISH’s 2015 summit, the company presented a bubble CPAP product, the Pumani bCPAP – a low-cost respiratory support device used to treat respiratory illness in infants.

A clinical study of the Pumani in a neonatal ward in Malawi showed that the device improved survival rates by 27 per cent. But at that time, only approximately 100 Pumanis had been distributed in tertiary and secondary level hospitals in four countries: Malawi, Indonesia, Pakistan and Haiti. Since then, the product has seen significant developments.

“Since taking part in WISH 2015 and having access to so many experts and policymakers, Pumani bCPAP has received regulatory approval, has launched on the worldwide market, and has now been sold in 28 countries,” says Brown.
 
Meddy is an online network of doctors in Qatar that uses patient reviews and credentials to help patients make informed decisions on their health. Meddy has information on 2000 doctors from 250 clinics across Qatar, with co-founder Haris Aghadi saying that being part of WISH was a great help in enabling them to expand.

“Our business has grown six to seven times bigger since we participated in WISH 2016,” he says. “Being able to showcase Meddy at the summit was a great boost for us.”

In fact, many fledgling innovations showcased at WISH have subsequently thrived in the open market. These include Ammi Service.

Originally a 3G voice-messaging service aimed at educating expecting women in rural areas about maternal health (“Ammi” is Urdu for mother), the service has transitioned into an AI chatbot, with the same goal of addressing a skyrocketing infant mortality rate in isolated rural areas.

Kamil Shafiq, cofounder of Ammi Service, explains: “After WISH, we were invited to attend the F8 Facebook Developer’s conference in San Francisco as a partner of their “Internet.org” initiative to connect the 4 billion people in the world who remain offline.”

“Through this experience, we have actually pivoted our original venture slightly to the world’s first Artificially Intelligence (AI)-based messenger chatbot in the Urdu language. As of right now, it’s a simple demo, but we plan to release a more comprehensive version soon.”

Global recognition was also on the cards for Adepeju Jaiyeoba, founder of Brown Button Foundation. Having lost a friend at childbirth due to a delay in getting skilled help, the Nigerian national made it her mission to try and solve maternal mortality.
 
“Being a young innovator at WISH was a key consideration in my being named as an emerging global entrepreneur by the White House in Washington, where I was recognized by Barack Obama,” she says, adding that the foundation also won the 2016 D-Prize award in Global Health.
 
“As a result of participating in WISH, I was able to acquire knowledge which helped in the expansion of my work to other communities in Nigeria. Currently, we are in 30 out of 36 states, and have seen almost 100,000 kits sold.”
 
Asmita Patwardhan is chief partnerships officer of Possible, which delivers healthcare to Nepal’s poorest patients through a hub and spoke model built within the government’s existing network and which was showcased at WISH 2015.

For the non-profit, the years since participating in WISH have involved profound growth. “Milestones include the treatment of our 500,000th patient; the successful completion of 18 months of service delivery at our replication hospital in Dolakha; and the receipt of the first health insurance claims. WISH has been invaluable for our team in advancing our model.”

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