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Meet the Winners of the Health Access Prize!

Emtithal Mahmoud (Speetar) and Doreen Toutikian (omgyno).jpg Emtithal Mahmoud (Speetar) and Doreen Toutikian (omgyno).jpg
Emtithal Mahmoud (Senior Growth Manager of Speetar) and Doreen Toutikian (Co-founder and CEO of omgyno)

Around the world, entrepreneurs are pushing the boundaries of what’s possible and spearheading solutions to health problems they see in their communities. 

At Johnson & Johnson Impact Ventures, a fund within the Johnson & Johnson Foundation, we want to enable these innovators to bring their ideas to life and grow their impact. As part of this effort, we collaborated with MIT Solve and funded the Health Access Prize, a prize awarded to five teams across two Global Challenges: Care Economy and Equitable Health Systems. These challenges called upon entrepreneurs working to improve healthcare and address barriers that make it inaccessible to many communities around the world.

In September, MIT Solve selected the five winners of the 2022 Health Access Prize, and we’re thrilled to introduce you to them! 

The Care Economy Challenge asked: How can we make giving and receiving care accessible, affordable and valued for all? The winning teams had these solutions:

Paul Spillman (Labour xchange), Zeenith Ebrahim (Jamii Life), Shelina Ramnarine (Director of Our Race to Health Equity Community Engagement, J_J) and Tafadzwa Munzwa (Dawa Health).jpg Paul Spillman (Labour xchange), Zeenith Ebrahim (Jamii Life), Shelina Ramnarine (Director of Our Race to Health Equity Community Engagement, J_J) and Tafadzwa Munzwa (Dawa Health).jpg
Paul Spillman (Co-founder of Labour xchange), Shelina Ramnarine (Director of Our Race to Health Equity Community Engagement at Johnson & Johnson), Zeenith Ebrahim (Founder of Jamii Life), and Tafadzwa Munzwa (CEO of Dawa Health)

1st Prize: Dawa Health Inc. – Zambia, Zimbabwe 

The solution: An AI-powered health platform democratizing access to healthcare through community health workers.

Dawa Health has made healthcare more accessible to low- and middle-income families and thousands of families now benefit from services that are up to 50% cheaper than traditional private health facilities. These rates help them avoid going into poverty for treating unexpected prenatal health challenges. 

Additionally, Dawa Health’s structure helps to strengthen health systems. It creates a source of income for thousands of new health workers (clinical officers and nurses) who sign up to the platform. It also offers employment to thousands of already skilled and semi-skilled health workers.

Congratulating Tafadzwa Munzwa (Dawa Health).jpg Congratulating Tafadzwa Munzwa (Dawa Health).jpg
Congratulating Tafadzwa Munzwa (CEO of Dawa Health)

Runner-Up: Jamii Life – South Africa

The solution: Training that equips health workers and family caregivers with new skills to deliver high-quality homecare to those unable to access or afford it, particularly communities of color.

Jamii Life’s model is in step with where healthcare is going—increasingly sought out and delivered from the home—so we were excited to see this solution centering on home-based care and remote nursing.

The impact on lives it could have is phenomenal. Jamii Life equips caregivers with training and accreditation, helping them build new careers and provide patients with the highest quality of care. Ultimately, this solution may reduce patients’ likelihood of hospital readmission by as much as 25%.

Congratulating Zeenith Ebrahim (Jamii Life).jpg Congratulating Zeenith Ebrahim (Jamii Life).jpg
Congratulating Zeenith Ebrahim (Founder of Jamii Life)

Runner-Up: Labour xchange Ltd – United Kingdom

The solution: A new platform that allows health workers to offer their services to different care providers in their region, while allowing providers to coordinate and quickly increase their staff numbers when patient demand grows high.

Labour xchange offers a creative solution to the often dramatic mismatch between supply and demand for care across the country. It also gives health workers powerful additional benefits of increased earning potential and new, part-time and flexible arrangements.

With a cross-cutting solution that serves health care workers, care-providing organizations, patients and local authorities, Labour xchange is creating new routes to giving and receiving care.

Equitable Health Systems Challenge asked: How can we build affordable, accessible and high-quality health systems that serve everyone, everywhere? The winning teams had these solutions:

Doreen Toutikian (omgyno) and Emtithal Mahmoud (Speetar).jpg Doreen Toutikian (omgyno) and Emtithal Mahmoud (Speetar).jpg
Doreen Toutikian (Co-founder and CEO of omgyno) and Emtithal Mahmoud (Senior Growth Manager of Speetar)

1st Prize: Speetar – Sudan, Libya

 The solution: A new telehealth service and app that allows patients to connect directly with doctors and receive care in areas where conflict and displacement have created major obstacles to accessing health.

Built for regions affected by years of conflict and a weakened public health system, Speetar’s solution provides patients with high-quality telemedicine and access to specialists abroad. In particular, we noticed how their platform is tailored for users who do not have data or smartphones, or would benefit from audio and visual features that don’t require reading.

Speetar’s sustainable business model also allows them to provide quality care at a lower cost for both patients and for providers—a key part of how it reduces the burden on struggling health systems. 

Runner-Up: Omgyno – Greece and Southern Europe

The solution: A tech platform that empowers users to understand their gynecological health—and screen for potential problems—through home testing kits and telehealth services that they can take advantage of with privacy and control.

Omgyno’s solution offers high-quality gynecology services for users that may feel discouraged from seeking care because of cultural forces, health misinformation or lack of public information about gynecology in general. In the face of these challenges, omgyno gives patients immediate access to diagnostic tests, lab results and health providers—and a whole new way to take care of their health while feeling safe.

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Congratulations to all our winners!! We are honored to support these companies and inspired by their innovations to make giving and receiving care more accessible by all.

Equitable Health Systems Challenge winners with Shelina Ramnarine and Innocent Innocent Okechukwu.jpg Equitable Health Systems Challenge winners with Shelina Ramnarine and Innocent Innocent Okechukwu.jpg
Doreen Toutikian (Co-founder and CEO of omgyno), Shelina Ramnarine (Director of Our Race to Health Equity Community Engagement at Johnson & Johnson), Emtithal Mahmoud (Senior Growth Manager of Speetar) and Innocent Okechukwu (Manager, Innovation + Venture Design at Johnson & Johnson)