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Health Innovation Lab | Building a Robust Ecosystem for Health Innovations in Kenya to Catalyse Progress Towards Universal Health Coverage | The Youth Cafe

  • Kempinski Hotel Kempinski Hotel Nairobi Kenya (map)

Theme: Building a Robust Ecosystem for Health Innovations in Kenya to Catalyse Progress Towards Universal Health Coverage


There is consensus across the global health community that embracing innovations is a crucial part of the ambitious plan to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC) by 2030, as envisaged in the Sustainable Development Goals. By creatin g better tools, products and approaches – and constantly refining existing ones – we can make faster and more efficient progress to better health outcomes. However, many promising innovations fail to move beyond their pilot stages and never achieve impact at scale.  

Kenya is globally renowned as a hub for innovation and the country’s healthcare landscape is dotted with many innovative solutions at various stages of development and scale. Existing policies are supportive and proactively advocate for innovations to catalyse faster progress. Though fragmented, there are several opportunities for financing healthcare innovations including a number of challenge funds, hackathons, innovation incubation and accelerator funds, as well as impact investors. While the fundamental architecture and drivers of healthcare innovation do exist in Kenya, there are ecosystem challenges that inhibit the seamless movement of promising solutions along the continuum from ideation to sustainable scale. The existence of a vibrant network of actors in the innovation ecosystem provides an excellent opportunity to learn, adapt and improve by drawing on this collective experience.

The Learning Lab

In view of the foregoing, Options Consultancy Services, KPMG and Villgro Kenya among other strategic stakeholders have convened a Learning Lab event, with the following key objectives:

Explore the perspectives of diverse actors in the innovation ecosystem on how to better support promising innovations across the scaling pathway in order to reap their full potential to bolster Kenya’s quest for UHC.

Examine the existing financing models for innovations, identify gaps and challenges and recommend actions for restructuring funding and attracting new streams of investments across the scaling pathway.

Provide a platform for networking and mutual learning among actors in the innovation ecosystem including innovators, funders, investors, policy makers, researchers and academia.

The conceptual design, format and content of the Learning Lab will allow participants to walk through the intricate innovation growth pathway from ideation to sustainable scale. Through engaging key note speakers and expert panels, participants will isolate the drivers, enablers and best practices for effective scaling of innovations. As well, the discussions will highlight the common challenges and pitfalls that stifle advancement of innovations thus leading to the ‘valley of death’.

The Outcome

The main products from this event will be: (1) Workshop Report capturing the proceedings of the meeting, and (2) A Learning brief. These products will be widely disseminated to add to the existing body of knowledge.


The organisers have invited about 100 participants drawn from a mix of public and private sector, including: policy makers, innovators, researchers, academia, funders, for-profit and social enterprises. For ease of planning and to enhance the breadth and depth of engagement, participation will be by invitation only.

Date & Venue

The date of the event will be 11 June 2019, coinciding with the Nairobi Innovation Week (10-14 June 2019) at the University of Nairobi. The venue of the Learning Lab will be at Villa Rosa Kempinski Hotel in Nairobi. The event will start at 8.30AM. There will be a networking cocktail at the end of the day (starting from 6PM).