Health in Fragile Contexts Challenge
How can we build resilience in health systems and maintain access to care despite destabilizing events?
Conflict, displacement, and natural disasters affect more than 1.6 billion people–a quarter of the world’s population. These destabilizing events can worsen the availability and quality of health services in contexts where health systems are already weak, increasing the likelihood of death, disease, and poor mental health. The frequency and severity of crises like pandemics, forced displacement, and impacts from climate change are growing. In this moment, it is critical to build resilience in health systems to allow them to better prepare for, manage, and learn from shocks and stresses, while also providing critical care throughout.
Fragile contexts are not limited to large-scale or devastating situations like humanitarian crises. They can also include communities where governance is weak and unable to cope with systemic and institutional inequities, poverty, unemployment, violence, or other factors. In fragile contexts around the world, underserved communities, including but are not limited to, women and girls, ethnic minorities, people with disabilities, and older adults are often disproportionately affected.
Technology and innovation, when deployed thoughtfully and in concert with other interventions, have the ability to strengthen health infrastructure, ensure health-related data is current, comprehensive, and actionable, and improve governance and coordination between local and international communities in fragile contexts. Community-driven solutions are also crucial for providing local context in fragile settings and ensuring all people (including less visible groups) have access to the care they need.
The MIT Solve community is looking for eight technology-based solutions that help maintain access to health care and build health system resilience in fragile contexts. To that end, Solve seeks solutions that:
- Increase local capacity and resilience in health systems, including the health workforce, supply chains, and primary care services.
- Enable informed interventions, investments, and decision-making by governments, local health systems, and aid groups.
- Improve accessibility and quality of health services for underserved groups in fragile contexts around the world (such as refugees and other displaced people, women and children, older adults, and LGBTQ+ individuals).
- Enable continuity of care, particularly around primary health, complex or chronic diseases, and mental health and well-being.
Special Call: Black & Brown Innovators in the US Program
Systemic inequities and institutional failures contribute to people of color in the US having less access to care and worse health outcomes. Shocks and stresses (such as climate change, disasters, and pandemics) can worsen these disparities. As part of Solve’s ongoing work on US racial equity, we will select 1-2 solutions from the US working to address these disparities for our Black & Brown Innovators in the US Program.