What We Do
The Bara.1 HealthTech Hackathon
From 24 – 24 February 2019, WHI held the BARA.1 Healthtech hackathon. We brought together Wits’ paediatric surgery nurses and doctors together with entrepreneurs, designers, developers and engineers for a 16-hour hackathon. Five teams of 5-6 people competed to find the best solution to the problem area identified within the paediatric surgery department. WHI and participants have been working together to develop the ideas pitched at this hackathon. Primarily supporting the development of a patient scheduling platform produced by the winning team (see section below).
WHI partnership with Endeavor South Africa
WHI has partnered with Endeavor South Africa (https://endeavor.co.za/) for our digital health innovation drive launching April 2021. WHI will send out calls for proposals to the various academic and clinical departments in the Wits circuit of hospitals. Together with Endeavor, WHI will choose the most pressing problem being faced, and Endeavor will put the problem to their global network of businesses and startups. The problem will then be tackled through collaboration with members of Endeavor’s global network and the department/focus-area chosen. The solution will not only be implemented within the chosen department, but will also be commercialised and scaled throughout South Africa and internationally.
WITS MEDX 2019
In September 2019, together with the WHI Student Society, WHI hosted our first ever WITS MEDx event. A huge success for its inaugural event, WITS MEDx collated speakers in a TED-like fashion. Here, inspiring talks from several leaders of industry and innovation were received by an audience of approximately 100 students and faculty members.
WHI Health Meetups
WHI Health Meetups
A series of health-innovation meetups focused on debate around the needs in South Africa’s healthcare sector and how technology and innovation can be leveraged to meet those needs. Our inaugural Meetup on 12 March 2020 at Jozihub featured two speakers on the role of technology in mental health.
Re-Imagine Medical 2020
Investec, in collaboration with The New School and WHI co-created a four-part Webinar series sponsored by Investec bank targeted at young doctors that ran from October – November 2020. See https://www.investec.com/en_za/focus/innovation.html
The speakers and topics for these each of the webinars were:
1. Dr Daniel Kraft on The future of healthcare in a post-pandemic world.
2. Dr Amanda Sammann on Designing better healthcare – why everyone should know more about design.
3. Dr Jennifer Wild and Dr Merika Tsitsi on Promoting mental health and resiliency among medical professionals.
4. Dr Chris Mathew and Kojo Baffoe on Understanding and using abundant data in healthcare.
UK South African Tech Hub and Endeavor South African Health Tech Ecosystem
WHI had the privilege of running a session for the above event. WHI and it’s advisors ran 5 ‘Speed Dating’ sessions for 15 of South Africa’s top (post revenue) health tech startups. Topics included tech, health informatics, business, medicine and design.
Machine Learning in Healthcare Community
WHI is partnering with Dr Chris Fourie (https://www.chrisfourie.africa), in creating a Machine learning in healthcare community in South Africa, bringing together the top minds in machine learning and healthcare to collaborate. Hosted events with speakers will take place on a monthly basis, and WHI will facilitate a number of these events as well as facilitate collaboration between machine learning experts and healthcare leaders in creating solutions to important healthcare problems.
Validating artificial intelligence- based mammography screening algorithms
With Envisionit Deep AI, Prof Carol Benn and Pink Ribbon Breast Screening Center Our team has completed the research protocol and is awaiting ethics clearance from Wits Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC)
See https://edai.africa/ for more information on Envisionit Deep AI.
A Blockchain- Based incentive system for the public healthcare sector
With Ribbon Blockchain and Prof Moosa at Chiawelo CHC The team is currently pitching for funding for the research. WHI is also assisting with further development of Ribbon’s incentive system and will run a pilot study at Chiawelo CHC.
See https://ribbonblockchain.com/ for more information on Ribbon Blockchain.
Evaluating the effectiveness of patient generated data using Abby Health Stations as a tool.
With Abby Health Stations and Prof Moosa at 20 clinics in Johannesburg WHI has submitted a research Protocol to conduct a study utilizing Abby health stations as a method of improving primary health outcomes through patient generated health data.
See https://www.go-abby.co.za/ for more information on Abby Health Stations.
WHI Student Society
In July 2019, WHI and students from the Faculty of Health Sciences founded the WHI Student Society. The society is dedicated to the growth of learners across the university, focusing on innovation in healthcare. Working with students from all Wits faculties, we challenge students to find creative solutions to healthcare problems in South Africa. In 2019 our students society successfully held Wits MedX. The society currently has over 200 members is currently working on innovative ways of bringing medical education to students during the COVID-19 pandemic. They have supported students so far by sourcing the donation of 200 high-quality visors to students in need.
WHI’s Covid-19 Response
We temporarily pivoted our focus to address the urgent PPE shortage at Wits-affiliated Hospitals. The PPE shortage was worsened by a disconnect between donors and COVID teams on the ground. WHI built relationships and streamlined the provision of resources to areas that needed them most. To date, WHI has orchestrated the donation of approximately 48 000 surgical masks, 6000 N95 masks, and 13000 bottles of hand sanitizer to four of Johannesburg’s largest public hospitals.