Panel + Q&A (*Maximum 4 Panelists)

Investing in Resilient Health Innovations: Rapid Adaptation for Quick Adoption

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COVID-19 has highlighted the urgent need for sustained investment in health innovations that address the needs of vulnerable populations in resource-constrained settings. During the initial stages of the pandemic, many innovators demonstrated their ability to quickly adapt their innovations to respond to the pandemic. This panel session will feature several Grand Challenges Canada portfolio companies to highlight factors that enable social enterprises to pivot and sustain the impact of their innovations during COVID-19. The session will also delve into donor and innovator perspectives on investment strategies needed in the future to support agile and resilient health innovations.

Confirmed Panelists

Moderator: Grand Challenges Canada


  • Assist International –Assist International has developed a sustainable and scalable model of oxygen production and distribution that provides a consistent, affordable supply of oxygen to hospitals and health clinics in low-resources settings. In response to COVID-19, Assist is working with partners to maximize oxygen production at existing oxygen plants, provide essential oxygen therapy supplies for immediate distribution, and provide remote training focused around oxygen therapy to ensure that patients will be able to receive life-saving oxygen therapy.
  • North Star AllianceNorth Star Alliance provides quality healthcare to hard-to-reach, mobile workers by purposely locating their clinics along main transport corridors in countries throughout East and Southern Africa, including Kenya, Uganda, South Africa and Zimbabwe. In response to COVID-19, North Star is implementing emergency response mechanisms to help contain the spread of the virus amongst vulnerable populations, such as truck drivers and sex workers, whilst ensuring the continuity of healthcare services and access to treatments and medication for other communicable diseases.
  • PraekeltPraekelt uses mobile technologies to increase access to essential lifesaving information for users in low-resource settings. With countries experiencing a need for direct communication about COVID-19, Praekelt has developed HealthAlert, a verified WhatsApp-based helpline to support users on health queries or concerns. This solution empowers citizens with the right information and supports the national response of the health systems that serve them.

Unconfirmed Panelists

  • Funder / Impact Investor – TBC

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