Thursday, November 30, 2023

DFID’s COVIDaction Resilient Health Systems Call for Innovations


Deadline: June 18, 2020

The Department for International Development (DFID) and its partners are pleased to announce the launch of the Resilient Health Systems Open Call for Innovations.

COVIDaction invites applicants to submit innovations that have potential to address the biggest vulnerabilities of low- and lower-middle-income countries to be able to maintain essential health services while responding effectively to the immediate COVID-19 crisis.

These vulnerabilities include:

  1. Technology platforms and process innovations that support changes in the delivery models of health services, enabling prevention, health promotion, health education, surveillance, and service delivery. Focus areas may include:
    • Engaging Communities: Many country responses to COVID-19 have been critiqued as ‘top down’ with limited civil society participation. Strong community engagement and access to data, information, and decision-making is needed so the public maintains trust in the health system, ensuring that people seek care when appropriate, and follow public health advice.
    • Extending the reach, coordination, and continuity of services: Use of technology can facilitate coordinated, data-driven approaches to extend the reach and continuity of support from hospitals and clinics to households and communities, while reducing the burden on health facilities and risk to health workers and patients. While technology can often be deployed haphazardly during a crisis, there is potential for acceleration of digital transformation and increased scale of digital health innovations during the pandemic.
  2. Improved collection and use of data to enable surveillance useful for immediate COVID-19 response and tracking of other health conditions, and continued delivery of essential health services. Focus areas may include:
    • Decreasing Fragmentation: The current data systems architecture in many settings thwarts effective response, as data systems are often fragmented — held by public and private sector providers, reporting to different government ministries, and involving myriad health workers and communities. How can health systems bring these pieces of the puzzle (data sources and actors) together to enable system-level data-driven decision making?
    • Optimising and Integrating: Technologies and innovations should focus on optimisation and integration of existing health information systems, digital platforms, technologies and human resources to achieve whole of system improvements in data availability and use. Goals should be increased timeliness, completeness, and increased capacity for effective use by different actors (including civil society and communities).
    • Data May Include:
      • Accurate and timely mortality data (including likely cause of death) to track pandemic and possible collateral effects
      • Data to enable targeted service delivery (e.g., data on the specific vulnerable groups/households that need or have received key preventive, promotive, curative, and palliative services), and
      • Aggregated population-level data about needed essential health services.


Selected applicants will receive:

  • Catalytic financing up to £200,000 from DFID to help adapt, integrate, and scale your solution.
  • Inclusion in Resilient Health Systems Innovation matchmaking events for onward collaboration between donors, investors, and the most promising innovations.
  • Connections to world leading experts for how best to adapt, integrate, and scale your solution.


Open to data and technology innovations that:

  • Respond to country demand and address a well-defined challenge, linked to a particular country/context in Africa and/or South Asia.
  • Offer a replicable and effective solution. Evidence of effectiveness (and cost-effectiveness) in improving reach, coordination, and continuity of services is desired.
  • Are ready to be deployed. They are not looking for innovations in the proof-of-concept stage.
  • Are feasible for adaptation (as necessary), implementation, integration with the public and private sector, and/or implementation at scale. Scaling up plans are encouraged, along with potential cost implications.
  • Optimise existing systems through improved processes/platforms, management structures, partnerships, capacity building, country-led change processes, etc.
  • Offer potential longer-term, wider health system benefits, relevant for strengthening the delivery of health services beyond the pandemic.


Applications will be evaluated using a two-stage selection process:

  • In Stage 1, applicants will submit a brief proposal via an online application form. Applications will be reviewed by a selection panel comprising experts from DFID, other funders, and other technology and health system experts. Applications will be scored based on their strategic relevance to the call theme, transformational impact, feasibility, and collaboration and commitment amongst partners/stakeholders.
  • The highest-ranking applicants will be shortlisted and advanced to Stage 2. They will be invited to virtual Resilient Health Systems Innovation matchmaking events, where innovators will be connected with donors and investors for onward collaboration.

Click here to apply

For more information, visit DFID.

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