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IDIA – WHO to support the scale-up of health innovations

GENEVA, Switzerland — The World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Development Innovation Alliance (IDIA) on Tuesday, January 26, 2021, signed a strategic Collaborative Agreement to support the scaling of health innovations.

The collaboration will see the two entities work together in support of a shared agenda to promote and facilitate the demand, supply, assessment, and scale-up of health innovation for the benefit of low- and middle-income countries.

“This collaboration is another great example of how agencies are coming together in different ways to connect the ever-increasing supply of health innovations to the growing demand for those solutions in WHO member states”, said Dr Soumya Swaminathan, WHO chief scientist.

WHO can support Member States’ priorities by helping to link impactful innovations to where they are most needed in countries. Given IDIA’s unique experience and status as a key collaboration platform for innovation funders around the world, joining forces will accelerate and deepen our collective impact in tackling the greatest challenges in global health.

“We are so pleased to welcome the World Health Organization as a new strategic partner for IDIA”, said Karlee Silver IDIA Founding Member and co-chief executive officer of Grand Challenges Canada. “We have always believed that just as it takes a village to raise a child, it takes an ecosystem of actors to scale an innovation, and IDIA members are excited to be working closely with WHO in helping spread impactful innovations to build a better, healthier future for people all over the world.”

“This strategic collaboration benefits from the strengths and offerings each organization brings to the table” said Bernardo Mariano Junior, director of digital health and innovation, WHO, “partnerships like this are key for connecting the supply of innovations, particularly those that are de-risked and transitioning to scale, with demand from countries.”

Collaboration between IDIA members and WHO will cover the following five areas:

  1. INNOVATION DEMAND. Jointly collaborate in support of WHO Member States to enhance the identification and articulation of demand for innovation responding to national health needs and priorities and global targets.
  2. INNOVATION SUPPLY. IDIA member agencies will contribute relevant innovations from their collective pipelines to meet the demand and innovation in health priorities articulated by WHO Member States.
  3. INNOVATION ASSESSMENT. WHO and IDIA will share expertise and tools to support the efficient assessment and clustering of scale-ready innovations surfaced through the supply pipeline.
  4. INNOVATION SCALE-UP. Work together to identify specific opportunities to support the demand-led scale-up of health innovations for the benefit of WHO Member States in collaboration with non-state actors and members of the international development community, as appropriate.
  5. INNOVATION & SCALING SKILLS DEVELOPMENT.Join forces to support the continuous development of innovation and scaling knowledge and skills among WHO staff (HQ, regional and local), Member States and development partners as may be appropriate.


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