United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and Health 2.0 | Egypt, Shamseya and Altibbi have come together for the Youth Health Challenge, a competition designed to mobilize young people as active solvers of the challenge we are all attempting to address: How can we radically improve access to, and quality of, sexual and reproductive health education and services for young people?
“UNFPA is happy to support this competition as a part of accelerating the promise towards International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) and making sure to leave no one behind,” stated Manal Eid, Youth Specialist at UNFPA Egypt.
Between topics like family planning, premarital counseling, forced early marriages, female genital mutilation, and access to knowledge about sexual and reproductive health in general, six teams present their pitches on Monday for the final round of the competition.
Prizes will be sponsored by Altibbi, a leading health platform in the Middle East and North Africa. According to Abdelatif Olama, Altibbi Egypt country manager, the platform is passionate about supporting initiative that address rural areas where health isn’t easily accessible. The platform also believes in the importance of involving youth when coming up with innovative solutions.
“This project takes a new approach to improving access to sexual and reproductive health information and services through an inclusive design approach involving youth as main drivers of digital health innovations, ” said Yara Abo El Waffa, co-founder of Health 2.0 | Egypt, adding that “From a digital health strategy perspective, the main outcomes of this projects are validating a scalable mechanism for engaging youth in product design, it also improves supply and demand of SRH information and services.”
“I am incredibly excited, and I am extremely proud of the progress. Ideas were built and were developed from scratch four months ago; this was done to tackle very controversial issues in highly stigmatized areas in Egypt in order to turn them into working prototypes and viable business models,” said Omar Shaker, co-founder and Chapter Leader of Health 2.0 | Egypt.
Egypt, where 62 percent of the population is below the age of 29, is reaching the peak of the “youth bulge”, the largest cohort of young people in its history. Young people face multiple specific challenges in accessing sexual and reproductive health services.
“Preparing them for the transition to adulthood, a time when sexuality and relationships are central, is not only a human right but it is also vital to ensuring good health and is key to reducing youth’s vulnerability and to maximizing human capital investment,” reads a statement about the competition, continuing, “Thus, promoting comprehensive, youth-friendly health services is essential in assisting youth to make responsible SRH decisions and in empowering them to enforce these decisions. The Youth Health Challenge is an opportunity to bring forward young perspectives. This young perspective will illicit change through solutions that are youth-led and more capable to address the needs and expectations of their peers”.
Shaker also mentioned that he is excited about the audience that is going to be there, from incubators to accelerators, to industry leaders from the development world, to come in and help the teams take their health pitches to the next level. Submissions are evaluated by a panel of expert judges based on which they get awarded prizes, recognition, support, and partnership opportunities with the sponsoring organization.
Health 2.0 | Egypt is the first chapter of its kind. Founded in 2014, this organization is a healthcare tech hub for professionals in the health, startup and programming industry; some of Egypt’s best and brightest medical and tech innovators and problem solvers. Health 2.0 | Egypt is the local chapter of Health 2.0 Conference based in San Francisco.
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