New regional profiles from the Social Innovation in Health Initiative

TDR news item
8 February 2018

Two regional hubs of the Social Innovation in Health Initiative (SIHI) have published videocase studies, and a SIHI investigator from India has received a funding award to fight childhood pneumonia.

The Philippines hub has two videos. The “One Health Facility, One Health Boat Project” uses boats to refer high-risk pregnant women and others to tertiary care facilities. The island nation is challenged by transportation to health facilities, and the boats have made important increases in access.

Another video explains the “P6.60 For Everyday Family Health Plan”, a project to extend healthcare coverage to tricycle drivers and their families.

In 2017, the University of the Philippines established a social innovation hub to support social innovation in health and foster more research. Dr Jaime Montoya, Executive Director of the Philippines Council of Health Research and Development, says “Social innovation is the key because it’s finding creative ways of making sure that research and research results benefit the community.”

Using social innovation to address behaviours and attitudes

“Behaviours and attitudes are the biggest determinants of our health”, says Dr Belen Lardizabal Dofitas, “because drugs are not effective unless people actually use them”. She sees social innovation as an important approach to reaching people at the periphery of the health system.

In Malawi, women can use a toll-free line or texting to receive tailored health information in a project called Chipatala Cha Pa Foni, which means health centre by phone. The video on this includes Mac Julio Kwataine Masino, the Senior Chief of the Traditional Authority, who talks about how the services have reduced the challenges of transportation that had been partially responsible for too many childhood illnesses and deaths. The project is now being scaled up nationally.

Fannie Kachale, the Director of Reproductive Health in the Malawai Ministry of Health, reinforces how this complements the work of the ministry of health, saying, “We really appreciate these other services … so that clients can make informed decisions on their health. Together we can do bigger things.”

Social innovation collaborator wins grant prize for childhood pneumonia innovation

In related news, Elina Naydenova has been awarded the Children’s Prize to develop a mobile health toolkit that supports regular pneumonia screening among children in India’s urban slum. The project, called “Fighting childhood pneumonia through AI”, builds on a clinical study which demonstrated the suitability of the technology for use in the poorest communities. The toolkit includes a mobile application that communicates with a digital stethoscope and a pulse oximeter; machine learning algorithms on the phone evaluate medical data acquired through the devices and identify pneumonia and its severity.

Elina is a PhD student at Oxford University and was one of the investigators who conducted 4 earlier SIHI case studies in India.

For more information, contact Beatrice Halpaap.


One Health Facility, One Health Boat Project video in the Philippines
P6.60 For Everyday Family Health Plan video in the Philippines
Chipatala Cha Pa Foni (health centre by phone) video in Malawi