The National Hepatitis C Hackathon concludes successfully with Innovative Solutions to curb the disease in Pakistan

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Islamabad :The National Hepatitis C Hackathon, organized by Teamup, Sensus Dx and Ferozsons Laboratories Limited at the National Incubation Center (NIC) in Islamabad- Pakistan’s leading incubator, managed by Teamup in partnership with Jazz and Ignite, has successfully concluded. The 2-day online event was held on the 27th and 28th of July, in partnership with the Corporate Coalition for Viral Hepatitis Elimination (cchep.org) and sponsored by CCHEP member companies Abbott, PepsiCo, Nestle, and Ferozsons, to find innovative solutions to curb the spread of viral hepatitis in Pakistan.

Pakistan has the second highest HCV prevalence in the world. Approximately 11 million people are living with Hep C in the country. On average 64 deaths occur daily due to the disease in Pakistan. While the disease is highly curable in most cases, lack of awareness and late diagnosis contribute to the high transmission and death rates in the country.

A total of 340 applications from 60+ cities in 3 continents were received from SMEs, startups, and medical experts under thematic areas of prevention, detection and management. 18 applications were shortlisted for pitching in the hackathon, out of which top 6 were shortlisted for the finale.

The Chief Guest for the event-Dr. Faisal Sultan-SAPM for Health, sharing his views on the occasion said:

“The challenge of the Viral Hepatitis epidemic is one that the Government is committed to meeting through the Prime Minister’s Program for Viral Hepatitis, which we are launching through our own resources despite the burden placed by of the Covid pandemic. The scale of this challenge will require the full participations of our citizens and the Private Sector. I am encouraged by the formation of the Corporate Coalition for Hepatitis Elimination in Pakistan, and congratulate the more than 300 entrants of today’s Hackathon for their spirit and innovative proposals.   I am extremely hopeful that with the support of these young innovators, we can eliminate viral hepatitis as a public health threat in Pakistan.”

 

Dr. Nausheen Hamid- Parliamentary Secretary for MNHSRC who graced the occasion as the Guest of Honor said “Hepatitis C in particular is a critical healthcare problem in Pakistan, with prevalence at persistently high levels. It gives me immense pleasure to witness this unique event and the impactful ideas presented as solutions here. Opportunities like these can help us break barriers to innovation and accelerate the development of solutions to resolve problems at various fronts, not only at a national, but also at international level. I would like to congratulate Teamup and sponsors Abbott, Ferozsons Laboratories Limited, Pepsi and Nestle for organizing and executing such an impactful event”

Attending the event as keynote speakers were Dr. Annanya Shetty-Digital Connectivity and Solutions Manager Abbott, Osman Khalid Wahid-CEO Ferozsons Laboratories Limited, Dr. Nausheen Hamid-Parliamentary Secretary for MNHSRC, and Zouhair Khaliq-Co-Founder Teamup Group.

The platinum partners of the event were Abbott Pakistan and Ferozsons Laboratories Limited, while PepsiCo joined hands as gold partner and Nestle contributed as silver partner. Cash prizes were awarded to the top three participants who were as follows:

1st Prize (PKR 500,000)- Slosh AI: A Super App, building an AI-based ecosystem for creating health solutions

2nd Prize (PKR 300,000)- Nano-detectors: Using nano-particles based detection methods for effective diagnosis and monitoring of a viral infection

3rd Prize (PKR 200,000)- Screen Pakistan: Developing a low-cost paper- based strip test for early Hep C detection

Slosh AI also bagged the Ferozsons Innovation Award and won a cash prize of PKR 100,000. The winners, in addition to the cash prizes, will have the opportunity to connect with relevant stakeholders required to practically implement their ideas including investors, Public Sector representatives & mentors/domain experts. They will also get the opportunity to scale up with the support of donors and acceleration partners.

About Teamup: Teamup is an incubation and acceleration platform, and is playing a pivotal role in leading the startup ecosystem in Pakistan. It has conceptualized and is managing the National Incubation Center since 2016 in partnership with the Ministry of IT and Jazz. Teamup, under various projects, has till date supported 250+ startups and 500+ startup founders, delivered 3000+ hours of curriculum, and helped startups raise more than PKR 2B investment, and earn more than PKR 3B in revenue.  With many companies under its portfolio, including Teamup Angels and Teamup Advisory, the organization has its roots embedded in innovation and provides consultancy and advisory services to the corporate, development sector and the academia.

About Ferozsons Laboratories Limited:

Ferozsons Laboratories Limited is a public limited pharmaceutical company, founded in 1956 with the vision to provide quality treatments to a large number of Pakistani patients. It became one of the first Pakistani pharmaceutical companies to be listed on the country’s stock exchanges in 1960and has been leading the Hepatitis C fight in Pakistan through access to HCV treatment as well as development of disease elimination program. Most recently, the company has launched the world’s first vaccine for Hepatitis E, another form of hepatitis that is hyperendemic in Pakistan and has high mortality especially in pregnant women, patients of chronic liver disease and the elderly. In 2019 Ferozsons in partnership with Gilead Sciences and Pakistan’s leading employers – including Abacus Consulting, Abbott, Fast Cables, the Packages Group, the Sapphire Group, Service Sales Corporation, the Atlas Group, Descon, Nestle Pakistan Limited, PepsiCo, Roche Pakistan and Uber launched ‘Corporate Coalition for Viral Hepatitis Elimination’. The coalition plans to support Government of Pakistan’s commitment to eliminate viral hepatitis in Pakistan by 2030.