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Health accelerator programme drives innovation to uplift women’s health in MENAT region

Health accelerator programme drives innovation to uplift women’s health in MENAT region
8 Apr 2024 09:22

Mays Ibrahim (ABU DHABI)

Organon, a global healthcare company committed to enhancing women’s health, and Flat6Labs, a leading seed and early-stage venture capital firm in the region, recently unveiled the second edition of the Women’s Health Accelerator programme. This initiative aims to empower digital health startups to address pressing healthcare challenges faced by women in the Middle East, North Africa, and Türkiye (MENAT) region.

The inaugural programmed recognised as winners three exceptional, female-founded digital health startups, including the UAE-based “Maternally”. Building upon this success, the second edition of the programme focuses on fostering innovation in family planning, fertility, and women’s wellness.

Alignment with National Plans

In a recent interview with Aletihad, Associate Vice President for the MENAT region at Organon, Ramy Koussa, outlined the programme’s alignment with the UAE’s National Policy for Improving Women’s Health.

“Most significantly, the accelerator programme is dedicated to fostering and creating innovative digital solutions for pressing women’s healthcare needs. This aligns with the UAE’s commitment to developing a multi-sector national framework to promote women’s health.

“Furthermore, the selection criteria of the programme highlight the importance of market scarcity and scalability. This focus on scalable solutions supports the UAE’s aim to develop sustainable and long-term solutions to women’s health issues,” Koussa said.

Addressing ‘Critical Gaps’

Koussa also noted that the programme is designed to closely support entrepreneurs in the region through an intensive curriculum focused on growth and scaling stages.

He affirmed Organon’s commitment to investing in innovations that drive progress towards addressing “critical gaps” related to women’s healthcare.

The recently-launched accelerator programme focuses on finding digital solutions in three target areas; family planning, fertility, and women’s wellness, according to Koussa.

“To facilitate this, participants in the programme will have access to specialised training sessions, seminars, and community events that will help the founders of the start-ups develop the knowledge and skills that they will require to grow their business within these target areas of women’s health,” he said.

Selection Criteria

Koussa provided insights into the selection criteria, emphasising the importance of scalable solutions.

“The accelerator programme is open to start ups with existing products or solutions, which aim to address challenges faced in family planning, fertility, and women’s wellness. Specifically, we are looking for entrepreneurs, with projects ranging from early start-ups to established ventures, who are committed to addressing female healthcare needs through innovative and scalable solutions in the three areas,” he said.

Digital start-ups taking part in the programme should be based in the MENAT region, and applicants must fully commit to the duration of the three-month virtual programme, Koussa noted.

A Broad Scope for Innovation

Koussa highlighted specific types of digital solutions or innovations that are being sought after to improve accessibility to healthcare services in the MENAT region.

“With the programme open to a range of digital solutions, which can address unmet needs in one of the three target areas, there is a broad scope for innovation, which is exciting. These digital health solutions could include solutions such as wearable device innovations, mobile health, telehealth, health information technology, and telemedicine,” he said.

Koussa noted that these solutions aim to enhance healthcare accessibility in the MENAT region by addressing inefficiencies, elevating the standard of care, and offering personalised healthcare solutions, said Koussa.

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