We are searching for community-based solutions that are improving healthcare.
If you have developed and are implementing a healthcare solution, we want to learn from you!
Please click below to submit your solution through our online SIHI share platform.
Subscribe for updates and latest developments from the initiative.SUBSCRIBE NOW

Publication Library


This publication is the result of three years of collaborative case study research conducted by the Social Innovation in Health Initiative (SIHI) partners. The summaries of the 23 case studies presented display the diversity of approaches social innovations have taken to address grassroots health challenges. The insights and lessons learned derived from this case study research cast light on the valuable role social innovation can play in strengthening health systems in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). It analyses the factors involved and highlights areas that need further study to best advance social innovation in health, strengthen health systems and contribute to universal health coverage (UHC).


Authors: Van Niekerk, L. et al. on behalf of SIHI.
Number of pages: 77
Publication date: 2017
Languages: English
ISBN: 978-92-4-151309-8


The SIHI Uganda team undertook a literature review from October 2017 to March 2018. The project team reviewed the published literature for examples of social innovation. We searched PubMed and Google Scholar for all relevant literature. The search terms used were “Community based social solutions”, “Social Entrepreneurship”, “Social innovations” and “Social innovation.’’ In the first step, the team screened the titles and abstracts of all the articles retrieved from both searches. The articles whose abstracts reflected implementation and evaluation of an intervention, were selected and read through to confirm if they match the inclusion criteria:


1. Appropriateness of solution to the need

2. Degree of innovativeness, inclusiveness, affordability, effectiveness, scalable and sustainable.


All studies that were at prototype level during the period of the literature search were excluded.


Six hundred twenty-three (623) articles were reviewed, the first selection included twenty-six (26) articles, and these were re-read by various reviewers and at final selection, five articles and one book were eligible. An additional eight papers were included from the published work of solutions that had been previously selected and recognized by SIHI in 2014.


Key message: Published literature on social innovation examples is scant, and there is need to promote research in social innovations in health in order to generate more evidence on the contribution of social innovations in improving community health.


The SIHI Partners have been active in sharing and disseminating work on social innovation at various conferences and meetings.


Conference: The Network Towards Unity For Health, Limerick, 2018
Authors: Onkeko, AM; Juban, NR.
Presenter: Arturo Ongkeko Jr


Presentation: Identifying Community-based Social Innovations in Health through Crowdsourcing


This study presents the crowdsourcing methodology used by the SIHI Philippines Hub as an approach to identify socially innovative models that country policy makers can learn from, adopt or scale successfully. A call for innovations was launched in June 2017 and ran for 10 weeks. An online portal was made available to receive submissions. The Hub received a total of 17 projects. Sixteen were shortlisted for expert panel review and were evaluated based on: degree of innovativeness, inclusiveness, affordability, effectiveness, health need, participatory and co-owned, and integration/scale. Four projects emerged as outstanding examples of socially innovative solutions that address priority health issues in the country. A challenge in the implementation was the reliability of internet connection. In addition, data collection forms must be simplified to encourage more submissions and data protection policies must be defined.

Dr. Charlie Labarda and Dr. Meredith Labarda from the UP Manila School of Health Sciences, Hub Manager Arturo Ongkeko and former Research Associate Harroun Wong from SIHI Philippines, and Dr. Rose Anne Rosanes from the UP Manila College of Dentistry

Conference: The Network Towards Unity For Health, Limerick, 2018
Authors: Juban, NR; Wong, HVT; Cordero, AH; Sana, EA & Ongkeko, AM
Presenter: Harroun Valdimir T. Wong


Presentation: Development of an introductory module on social innovation in health (SIH): An alternative lens for viewing and addressing health challenges in the community


The SIHI Philippines Hub developed an introductory module on SIH to strengthen country capacity through its use and also as a means for advocating the initiative. Literature review and consultant engagements were performed to produce an initial draft consisting of three units. Two pilot sessions were conducted to gain insights and evaluate the module. Participants of the validation activity assessed the module to be adequate, meeting the set objectives. They gave suggestions on potential beneficiaries, facilitation and time allocation. Next steps include formal validation activities with different organizations, creation of an evaluation plan, collaborations for dissemination, and conceptualization of subsequent modules to tackle advanced SIH concepts.


Conference: 14th Joint Annual Scientific Health Conference of the Makerere University College of Health Science
Presenter: Juliet Nabirye


Presentation: The contribution of social innovation to improved service delivery in Uganda; Examples of solutions from Uganda.


Every day, 300 children and 20 mothers die in Uganda. Although many well-established medical treatments exist to prevent this, they are not accessible to those who need it. In 2017 SIHI Uganda organised a call for solutions that are improving maternal and child health in Uganda. 25 submissions were reviewed, and the top 5 solutions were selected. These were generally within the following categories: improving access to delivery care for example maternal waiting homes for use in the last trimester in very remote locations; ultra sound scan devices, SGBV reporting and creating better opportunities for disadvantaged women and children.


Conference: Women Leaders in Global Health Conference, London, 2018
Presenter: Shufang Wei


Presentation: Crowdsourcing Challenge: Improving Women’s Participation in a WHO/TDR Fellowship


The TDR, the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases clinical research and development fellowship (“the fellowship” in this challenge) provides support for mid-career individuals from low and middle-income countries (LMIC) to spend one year in a high-income country to learn about clinical research. Over the past four years, only 16-24% of fellowship applicants have been women and only about one quarter of all participants are women. But this is not a simple problem and we need your creative solutions. A wide range of concerns may discourage women from applying, including issues related to moving away from home (finding work for spouses and child care), administrative issues related to going from an LMIC to a high-income country (obtaining visas for spouses, children, and care-givers), and other obligations associated with caregiving we are looking for creative ideas to make the research year more flexible or spur more women to apply. We hosted a contest for individuals to submit exceptional ideas that encourages women participation and shared the solutions at the annual Women Leaders in Global Health Conference this year.

Left to right: Marriam OtmanI Del Barrio, Joseph Tucker, Helen Anyasi, Grace Gabagaya, Ewen Liu, Shufang Wei, Alejandra Leyton and Pascal Launois

Conference: The International AIDS Conference, Amsterdam, 2018
Presenters: Joseph Tucker, Weiming Tang, Amy Lee


Presentation: Crowdsourcing in Health and Health Research: A Practical Guide


Crowdsourcing challenge contests have been used to help inform youth-friendly HIV policy, develop new HIV interventions and create more user-friendly HIV programs. TDR, the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases recently commissioned a systematic review of the evidence supporting crowdsourcing for health and a practical guide on implementing and evaluating crowdsourcing challenge contests. This workshop provided an interactive introduction to the practical guide, providing step-by-step assistance for those interested in organizing challenge contests. The workshop was tailored for advocates, scientists, community leaders, and program managers.