Innovators of Global Health: Reflections from the 2015 GHIC Conference

Innovators of Global Health: Reflections from the 2015 GHIC Conference

The Global Health & Innovation Conference (#GHIC) is one of those events that we look forward to attending every year, and we highly recommend it to all. Hosted by Unite for Sight, GHIC is described as the world’s leading and largest global health conference convening thought leaders and changemakers from all sectors of global health, international development, and social entrepreneurship. We couldn’t agree more with this description, and this focus on diversity makes GHIC appealing for our work at the Children’s Prize. There’s opportunity to connect with students and professionals through the numerous talks, workshops, pitches, poster sessions and coordinated networking events. This year, the theme was Focus on Quality: Evidence- and Outcomes-Based Conference and here are some reflections of the experience.

The Honorable Minister of Health of Rwanda, Agnes Binagwaho, M.D. at the 2015 GHIC Conference. Photo credit: Chelsea Ducharme ‏

We listened to high profile and engaging speakers at GHIC. We especially enjoyed the compelling keynote address from the Honorable Minister of Health of Rwanda, Agnes Binagwaho, MD. Dr. Binagwaho spoke about the essential principles that have improved health in Rwanda, including how to harness the power from traditional values to create a system of health that meets the people where they are. She focused on the importance of thinking of health as “multisectoral” because the social determinants of health are greatly impacted by sectors other than those within health. She stressed the need to abolish the double standards of health, as she eloquently stated:  “We live in one world, not three.” 

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During the conference we had an opportunity to listen to Jeffrey Sachs’s inspiring presentation on the current status of the United Nation’s plan to improve the state of the world’s vulnerable population through the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals and emphasize the need for a new funding mechanism. The need for a Global Fund for Health.

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From the poster session to the pitch presentations, Unite for Sight has provided a successful platform for the exchange of ideas and formation of partnerships. It is an exciting time to be investing in global health and global philanthropy, and conferences such as the #GHIC truly embody this. The transition to a healthier, more sustainable and inclusive world will require the help, dedication and hard work of many. GHIC provided an opportunity to listen and engage with other professionals doing transformative work that will improve health and increase access to opportunities to ensure “Health for All.”

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Leveraging funding to achieve these goals is a major component of global health; it is essential for the creation and implementation of programs that aim to successfully strengthen a health system. With that in mind, the Children’s Prize will be searching for solutions-focused innovative minds with an actionable plan to reduce key health indicators, such as under 5 mortality rates, and increase child survival. One winner will be awarded a $250,000 to implement their project. Are you turning ideas into concrete solutions in the child health space? Then this opportunity is for you! For more details on how to apply, visit

Shout-Outs to Young Innovators

GHIC Innovation Prize Winner: Lucy Topaloff, from Miraclefeet, pitched the Miraclefeet Brace that offers a treatment for children with clubfoot in developing countries. The organization prides itself on three important identifiers for a sustainable treatment plan:  low-cost, comfortable, and accessible. And we love it too! Congratulations!

Katelyn Chan, from PremieBreathe, spoke about a low-cost (approximately $500) solution to reduce neonatal deaths. PremieBreathe is a respiratory device prototype that warms and humidifies air for infants in respiratory distress.  This is a simple, yet effective, technological solution to a major problem in health for areas that cannot access adequate health care. The Children’s Prize would love to see how this is implemented!

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Kunmi Sobowale, from Motherhood Savings Today (MOST) discussed a microfinance intervention to improve birth outcomes and early childhood development. Motherhood is expensive, and to mitigate the costs of some of these health issues introduced by poverty, early childhood savings during the prenatal period can make a world’s difference in the life of a mother. Excellent work, Kunmi!  



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