Jugaad-a-thon Tackles India’s Maternal, Child Health Care Challenges

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Just as hack-a-thons are making their mark within the technology sector, healthcare providers are also looking to develop innovative health technologies...

Just as hack-a-thons are making their mark within the technology sector, healthcare providers are also looking to develop innovative health technologies through their own version of these coding events.

Jugaad-a-thon, the first ever medical technology hack-a-thon in Bangalore, India, was held on July 18-20. It united clinicians, entrepreneurs, engineers and designers to solve pressing clinical challenges in India by moving from ideas to prototypes within 48 hours.

GE and Glocal Healthcare partnered with Consortium for Affordable Medical Technologies (CAMTech) India, which is sponsored by USAID, Omidyar Network and BACCA Foundation. The partnership aims to accelerate medical technology innovation for reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health in India.

“The Jugaad-a-thon is a new way of elevating the experience and know-how of local experts, and using strategies from not just engineering, but also public health and business, to develop new tools to improve health,” Elizabeth Bailey, director of CAMTech at Massachusetts General Hospital’s Center for Global Health, told Express Healthcare. “We’re focused on finding impactful, marketable and innovative ways to provide care to women and children in India.”

In India, “jugaad” is a colloquial Hindi word that can mean finding an innovative and rational solution to a problem with limited resources. At the inaugural Jugaad-a-thon, teams did precisely this when determining solutions for the local challenges of at-home care, Post partum hemorrhage, primary health centers and medication compliance.

Over 1,000 individuals participated in the event alongside 153 organizations, creating a total of 106 innovations.

“As a healthcare provider to those most at risk for poor health and early death in India, hack-a-thons help us become a part of a unique community of innovators who share our vision of ensuring the best health care is available to all,” said Soura Bhattacharyya, Glocal’s Chief of Medtech.

The winner with the most innovative creation would earn Rs 250,000 with first and second runner-ups winning Rs 150,000 and Rs 75,000, respectively. A list of winners has not been released.

The event is expected to return to Banglagore in the summer of 2015. 


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