Global Affairs

Indian-Israeli Hackathon Aims to Solve Pressing Healthcare Issues

More than 600 people will work together across Israel and India next week to develop solutions to healthcare challenges facing low-income Indian communities.

The first-ever India-Israeli Affordable Healthcare Hackathon, scheduled to take place in Tel Aviv, Mumbai, Hyderabad, and Bangalore from July 22-24, will feature engineers, designers, health practitioners, entrepreneurs, programmers, and other looking to disrupt India’s affordable healthcare sector.

“The aim is to connect Israeli technology to world challenges and penetrate developing markets,” said Andi Gergely, the community and outreach manager of the Tel Aviv University Pears Program, which is helping to organize the event. “In Israel there are over 1,000 startups in the healthcare sector, but most of them target the U.S. and European markets. We believe there is a lot of potential in Africa and India. There is an opportunity for growth, working with the low income consumers in these markets, to make their lives better.”

The competitors will have to create a solution or prototype for one of seven pressing healthcare issues in India: creating an anemia diagnostic test for young girls; finding a technological solution to monitor food and milk intake among infants; screening and diagnosis solutions for hearing impairment; creating real-time monitoring devices for pregnant women; managing the side effects of chemotherapy in remote areas; improving access to funding for cancer treatments; and creating technology driven-solutions to give psychological counseling for cancer patients by connecting them to doctors and counselors.

The participants will be judged by leaders of Israeli and Indian healthcare institutions, venture capital funds, and industrial groups, The Times of Israel reported. “Participants will compete for cash prizes and mentoring packages, and winners will be able to join either the Pears Challenge accelerator in Israel in November 2016 or get a placement at a parallel program in India, and potentially access seed funding,” Gergely explained.

India’s consumer market is expected to grow from $2 trillion to $3.6 trillion by 2020, with its health care sector is expected to grow to $280 billion by that time, according to data provided by the Pears Program.

This is the first time Pears is holding its challenge in India. The organization held its previous challenge in Kenya last year, dealing with improving food security in Africa.

Israel has the highest concentration of tech start-ups and venture capital financing per capita in the world, and has been the origin of many of the disruptive technologies that the world uses: computer firewalls, instant messaging, USB keys, voicemail and digital printing, to name a few. Israel has over 1,000 startups in the healthcare sector, almost all of them targeting the needs of rich people in rich countries. India is a world leader in frugal innovation that targets the needs of mass markets in healthcare and other fields and is the leading country in the world in developing business models to serve low and lower-middle income consumer needs. We believe that collaboration on affordable innovation presents immense opportunities for both sides.