Innovate for Life logo

Innovate for Life is an active call by Amref Health Africa to innovative teams across the globe in preparation for the Africa Health Agenda International Conference. The call rallies innovators to participate in a two-day start-up hackathon in Nairobi, Kenya on March 7 and 8, 2017, with the purpose of developing solutions that respond to the significant challenges faced by mothers and infants across the continent. The solutions will seek to reduce the high rates of maternal and newborn deaths in Africa.

Applications Closed

Hackathon Challenge

  • 830

    Deaths per day

    Estimated number of women who die from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth

  • 99%

    of these deaths are in developing countries

  • +50%

    of the deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa

Major causes of maternal deaths

  • Bleeding during and after pregnancy
  • Infections
  • Unsafe abortions
  • High blood pressure during pregnancy (Eclampsia)
  • Coexisting infections i.e. (Malaria/HIV)

Causes for newborn deaths

  • Birth asphyxia (failure to breath)
  • Hypothermia (failure to maintain normal temperature)
  • Prematurity
  • Infections (sepsis)

It is our belief that technology and innovation can intervene in:

  • Maternal healthcare

    Maternal Healthcare

    • Solutions on community ownership and participation
    • Technologies that enhance communication, reach and awareness for mothers and healthcare professionals
    • Tracking and mapping solutions of medical centers that offer maternal
    • Maternal healthcare financing models
  • Healthcare professionals

    Healthcare Professionals

    • Innovative health workforce approaches
    • Ease of health service delivery e.g standardization of care, delivery and drugs and equipment supply
    • Medical products and health technologies
  • Policy and governance

    Policy & Governance

    • Accountability solutions
    • Data mining and analysis


The 3 innovative solutions selected will have access to US$ 3,000 seed funding and an opportunity to join a 3-month acceleration programme.

The acceleration programme will entail solution refinement, training, mentorship and scaling up.


Please scroll to the right for further dates

Hackathon Programme

  • 8:00 - 8:30AM :
    Arrival and Registration of the teams
  • 9:00 - 10:00AM :
    Introductions and brief overview of the challenge and directive on expected solutions. Highlight on the focus groups as resource centres
  • 10:30AM :
    Hackathon kicks off
  • 1:00PM :
    Lunch is served
  • 2:00PM :
    Hackathon continues
  • 6:30PM :
    Dinner is served
  • 7:30PM :
    Hackathon continues through the night
  • 7:30AM :
    Breakfast is served
  • 8:00 - 10:00AM :
    Hackathon continues
  • 10:00 - 10:30AM :
    Teams upload final hacks on the portal as they go into breaks
  • 10:45AM :
    Judging commences
  • 1:00PM :
    Lunch is served
  • 2:00PM :
    Pitching sessions commence
  • 6:00PM :
    Judges deliberate on the final solutions
  • 6:30PM :
    The three finalists are announced and closure of the hackathon
  • 7:00PM :
    Dinner is served and finalists are briefed on the expectations for the conference


  • Chanjo Plus

    The solution is a mobile service that offers a digital vaccination management alternative by tracking and tracing every individual child's vaccination history, tracking vaccination defaulters through geo-tagging and generating vaccination data real time as well as sending vaccination reminders to registered mothers mobile phones. .We are able to determine vaccination utilization levels based on the vaccination data analytics and thereby prevent vaccine wastage. We take consideration of open source technology through cloud hosting and storage. Our main aim is to ensure that the over 1.5 million vaccine-preventable deaths are eliminated through ensuring that every child gets full immunization that is scientific evidence-based as we understand the health, economic, and social impact of full immunization.

  • HelpMum

    HelpMum is a social enterprise that uses the power of mobile technology to reduce maternal and infant mortality focusing on preventive measures in Africa. We help pregnant women ease stress and provide them with antenatal care date and immunization date reminders and personalized and significant lifesaving health information on their mobile phone. We also provide nursing mother of children under 5 life-saving health tip and health information like diarrhea management ,nutritional advice using innovative low cost mobile technologies such as our HelpMum Mobile App, SMS Reminder Services, HelpMum Blog, Podcasts, Voice call reminder and Call a Doctor Service. We use mobile technology to help pregnant women and nursing mothers by harnessing medical expertise . We are also proud to offer a unique blend of expertise and patient centered care for pregnant women and nursing mothers in all stages of life and health

  • Wekebere

    Wekebere is a handheld self-diagnostic device that monitors conditions of unborn babies. The hand-held fetal monitor is particularly useful in remote areas that are hard-to-reach in terms of health service delivery. The portable fetal monitor consists of a belt with sensors that the expectant mother wraps around the abdomen. The active sensors on the belt send vital signals regarding the fetus to a microcontroller that transmits a color-coded result of the fetal status. This technology was developed as an effort to address the high rates of maternal mortality as well as infant deaths associated with complications during pregnancy especially in rural areas of Africa with poorly developed public and private health care systems.

Runners up

  • Afya Plan

    Afya-Plan will basically be putting a group of two or more mothers together in a chama using an android application and USSD for low end devices. The mothers will be contributing on a regular basis be it weekly, fort-nightly or even monthly using M-PESA an amount that they will agree upon. This money is aimed at creating a pool from where these mothers will get money to fund their children's(13 years and below) health care in case of an emergency or any health issue that aises. The target group is the low income earning mothers who cannot afford insurance or any other form of cover due to their self-employment status or lack of employment. The various chamas that will be created will provide a pool from where money can be obtained if the current member demands are more than what the chama has, and in so doing ensuring that their child do not miss out on accessing healthcare due to lack of money. Android programming will help us develop the mobile application for those who have android devices and for those without will still be able to access the services using USSD. Through these technologies, the app's production will be facilitated thereby ensuring that we deliver this vital service to the people hence help reduce the high mortality rate of children which is mainly caused due to lack of sufficient funds and poverty.

  • PregMum Healthcare

    PregMum device is a simple wearable monitoring gadget that measures a fetal heart rate of a pregnant mother's baby (starting from the period of 21 days after conception) and mother's blood pressure (using a switch between baby and mother during monitoring) which gives a red or green light to indicate if she is okay or not (running on medical standard range of 110-160 bpm for baby and 90-120 bpm for mother), also providing a digit display to show accurate average measurement of heart beat (baby) and blood pressure (mother) than from the traditional fetal scope and measurement procedure that healthcare providers give which is prone to a high human risk error. During this period, it has a storage capability (offline usage) and a cloud connectivity to a cloud server (centralized system) where she and her healthcare provider can access information scope of fetus heartbeat and her blood pressure during and after pregnancy period for documentation and educational purposes to her phone as any service (SMS, notification, USSD application, web and mobile application) and also local hospital's platform (Medical database plugin and API).


A Hackathon is an event where people with the same technical backgrounds come together, form teams around a problem or idea, and collaboratively build solution.
Innovate for life is an active call by Amref Health Africa to innovative teams across the globe in preparation for the Africa Health Agenda International Conference. The call rallies innovators to participate in a 48 hours start-up hackathon in Nairobi, Kenya on March 7 and 8, 2017, with the purpose of developing solutions that respond to the significant challenges faced by mothers and infants across the continent.  The solutions will seek to reduce the high rates of maternal and newborn deaths in Africa
Anyone in a team of 2 or more (ideally 5) and feels they have technical capacity to come up with a solutions to address the challenge at hand.

The success of this hackathon depends heavily on a good mix of people with medical and technological expertise. We encourage a wide range of participants including programmers, developers, designers, medical practioners, researchers and entrepreneurs.
This is a very hands-on event, so please bring your laptops, and don’t forget the charger! Make sure to bring your awesome ideas too and any other devices that can aid and inspire you in coming up with the solution to address the challenge at hand.

You definitely don’t need to worry about food or drinks; there will be plenty of food, soda, Please don’t bring weapons, alcohol, illegal drugs or pets.
The hackthon will be facilitated by Nailab Accelerator in partnership with Amref Health Africa.
Every day, approximately 830 women die from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. With your help, we can change this narrative by saving a mother’s and child life. And as such Amref Health Africa and Nailab recognizes the opportunity and obligation to innovate as a means to respond to diverse and emerging development challenges through agile and flexible solutions that stretch beyond the “business as usual” approach.

Encouraging innovation and development of solutions addressing reduction of preventable maternal health death contribute directly to achieving Sustainable Development Goal 3
The hackathon will be held at Amref Health Africa head offices in Nairobi, Kenya at the auditorium, and will run from 7th March, 2017 to 8th March, 2017. The hackathon will run 24/7 for a period of 48 hours.
Yes! If you understand challenges sorrounding maternal health and you have unique ideas that can be part of a solution, you are welcome.
You can submit your application at by signing up and filling in the application form, afterwhich you click submit to send in your application. If your application is submitted successfully you will receive a confirmation email from acknowledging your application.
Application submissions commence on 10th November 2016 and will be closed on 15th February 2017. Incomplete or late entries will not be accepted.
Once the applications have been evaluated, the shortlisted ideas will be notified, through by 22nd February 2017.
The Innovation4Life startup Hackathon Challenge is 100% free! All we ask for is some honest effort and a positive attitude.
No, we do not offer any reimbursement for travel expenses. For those working through the night, there will be comfortable bean bags to help you catch a few winks and games to help you clear your mind.
We are not able to offer financial support; However, we will provide an invitation letter highlighting the event and your involvement.
Yes. We realize that 48 hours may be a long time especially without sleep. However, we strongly encourage you to endeavour working on your solution throughout the hackathon timeframe to stand a chance of being one of the top three finalists.
Note: at the end of the hackathon each team will present their solution to a panel of judges, who will review and award scores that will determine the top 3 finalists.
Because you will be building a solution to save millions of women and children. Here is the good part, you are not doing it alone, each of the 3 winning solutions will have access to USD3,000 seed funding  and an opportunity to  join  3 months acceleration program which will entail; Solution refinement, Training, Mentoring and Scaling in exchange of to be agreed equity in your business.


  • Lead Sponsors

    Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited is a global, research and development-driven pharmaceutical company committed to bringing better health and a brighter future to patients by translating science into life-changing medicines.
  • Supported by

    Amref Health Africa is the largest African health development non-governmental international organisation based in Africa, committed to improving health and health care in Africa.
  • Facilitated by