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


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