In October 2022 the WHO announced the renewal of a strategic Collaboration Agreement with the International Innovation Alliance (IDIA) to “support the scaling of health innovations to the end of 2023”. The WHO outlined a shared goal: “to jointly accelerate health impact”.
IDIA was formed in 2015 with support from The Rockefeller Foundation. It brings together the world’s “leading development innovation funders” in response to the challenges faced by developers.
“Innovation and scaling require a commitment to doing things differently, and to find new ways of working together that transcend traditional boundaries to deliver greater impact at pace.”
This agreement was established in 2021 to “promote and facilitate the demand, supply, assessment, and scale-up of health innovations for the benefit of low- and middle-income countries.”
Areas for attention
The collaboration covers 5 areas:
- Innovation demand – to “enhance the identification and articulation of demand for innovation responding to national health needs and priorities and global targets”.
- Innovation supply – contributing “relevant innovations” to meet the demands specified by WHO Member States.
- Innovation assessment – sharing expertise and tools to “support the efficient assessment and clustering of scale-ready innovations surfaced through the supply pipeline”.
- Innovation scale-up – identifying opportunities to “support the demand-led scale-up of health innovations”.
- Innovation and scaling skills development – supporting the “continuous development of innovation and scaling knowledge and skills”.
Collaboration and complementation
Dr Alain Labrique, Director of Digital Health and Innovation at WHO, believes that progress towards “health for all” involves leveraging health innovations “effectively”. This agreement shows “partners with complementary expertise working together to scale innovations, building on each other’s strengths”. Head of WHO Innovation Hub, Louise Agersnap, is “excited” to move this forward.
“With innovation in health – whether digital, health products, or social innovation – we can improve or save more lives by providing health to people in faster, better, and more affordable ways.”
The WHO will encourage Member States to “link impactful innovations” to areas where they can make the greatest difference. Using IDIA’s “unique experience” and “status” they hope to accelerate “collective impact”. Dr Karlee Silver is an IDIA Founding Member. She looks forward to “reap[ing] the rewards of investing in innovation”.
“WHO operates at scale and brings legitimacy, so can enable ready-to-scale health innovations reach impact at scale.”
For more from the WHO at the World Vaccine Congress in Washington 2023 get your tickets now. At the Congress we will also shine a light on some innovative start-ups who are changing the vaccine industry. To meet examples from Europe 2022 click here and here.