The IE Winter School winning project: Hello.Health

The IE Winter School experience was an amazing time to learn and explore the role we as individual participants could play in contributing to sustainable change. And after a group of four randomly assigned individuals from different continents studying different majors were brought together to create a sustainable business proposal within two weeks, we had to develop a shared vision of our impact. We spent days discussing and sharing our passions and the problems that bothered us in our communities and the world at large. Finally, our team created Project Hello.Health, an alternative solution to sustainably advance the prevention of non-communicable diseases (“NCDs”) among women in rural India, which ultimately turned out to be the competition’s winning project.

NCDs consist of diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, cancers, diabetes, and chronic respiratory diseases and have been identified as an emerging pandemic globally, with disproportionately higher rates in developing countries. Additionally, data shows that the prevalence rate of NCDs for women in developing countries has risen from 38% to 60% over the past three years. We zeroed in on Indian women who data shows stand an even greater risk of getting NCDs due to the combined effect of unique genetic predisposition and unplanned urbanization. What was worrying was the fact that, for the Indian rural population in general, the prevention and treatment of NCDs are spearheaded by Accredited Social Health Activists ( widely called ASHA workers) who are not able to meet acceptable standards of effectiveness due to a myriad of challenges and limitations they face on the job.

Our proposed solution Project Hello.Health, therefore, takes healthcare services to women in such areas and improves their knowledge about NCDs while reaching untapped markets that most health apps are not widespread in using an augmented healthcare application. Unlike the others where only online diagnosis is typically offered, this app comes with easy dial-in features, more local language options, emergency on-call consultations, and easy location of subsidized health facilities. Women can quickly call in to report symptoms, receive instructions, or be referred to the nearest clinics for treatment with the assistance of an ASHA worker. Our business model is built on the capabilities of forward-looking healthcare apps like the ADA health app, where our team acts as lead facilitators, creating user-friendly and culturally-sensitive features to the app. This new version of the app is then installed on refurbished smartphones that are obtained on an annual contract from hardware owners and then distributed to ASHA workers by the government of India or Private Healthcare Facilities who let them from us on a subscription basis.

Our solution addresses three main Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), SDG 3 – Good Health and Well-Being, SDG 5- Gender Equality, and SDG 12- Responsible consumption and Production. We estimated the timeline for the implementation of our project as follows; Phase 1 (Year 2021-22): secure the initial investment, consult ADA & other targeted investors, and select a software partner by end of the year. Phase 2 (Year 2022-23): customize the software to meet the needs of our Indian target market, create a developmental business plan, and pitch to both the Government of India and refurbished phone companies. Phase 3 (Year 2023-24): enter a contractual agreement with the necessary stakeholders and then create and test the prototype. Phase 4 (Year 2024): Launch our product in 100+ villages in India. Phase 5 (Long Term Goal): expand into different Lower and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs). Through all this, the main objective of Project Hello.Health remains the same. To help women, especially those who are underprivileged to understand, manage and receive care for their illnesses in a few minutes with a key focus on lowering the deadly impact of NCDs, the silent killers.

About the team:

Alessandro Olivieri 

Maame Ansah-Obiri

Maria Jovita Lambert 

Johnatan Solorzano

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