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SA health innovation in spotlight

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Philips and the Innovation Hub have announced the top 5 finalists of the Innovation Fellows Competition. The event’s aim was to uncover innovative ideas that could change the local health care industry.

The lifeblood of most modern industries today is innovation, as it sets the tone for progress and enables businesses to gain a competitive advantage, create additional jobs and within the health sector specifically, change the lives of people by offering patients’ an enhanced level of care.

Earlier this year, Philips partnered with The Innovation Hub in Pretoria to launch the first Innovation Fellows Competition in South Africa with the aim of uncovering and supporting the next big innovative ideas that will not only help revolutionise the South Africa health industry, but also assist in addressing regionally relevant challenges in healthcare.

The Top 5 finalists of the competition have now been selected from a list of outstanding submissions garnered from the 61 local entries and will be awarded R 12,000 each. In addition, they will be partnered with a mentor who will guide and tutor them on the necessities needed to putting together a winning business plan and pitch. The overall winner, which will be announced in November, and will receive R 200 000 as a research and development budget for their #nextbigidea in improving access to primary healthcare.

“New innovations can have a substantial impact on health care service delivery by allowing for better access to care thanks to more affordable products for instance, enabling faster diagnosis of illnesses or more effective treatment of diseases,” says JJ Van Dongen, Senior Vice President and CEO Philips Africa.

Philips Innovation Fellowship finalists group shot (From left to right) Eddine Sarroukh Head of Philips Research Africa; Dean Hodgskiss Finalist; De Wet Swanepoel Finalist; Carol Thomas (Via Skype) Finalist; Ragesh Pillai Finalist; Sudesh Sivarasu Finalist and JJ van Dongen CEO Philips Africa

Philips Innovation Fellowship finalists group shot (From left to right)
Eddine Sarroukh Head of Philips Research Africa; Dean Hodgskiss Finalist; De Wet Swanepoel Finalist; Carol Thomas (Via Skype) Finalist; Ragesh Pillai Finalist; Sudesh Sivarasu Finalist and JJ van Dongen CEO Philips Africa

Showcasing the innovative work of the Top 5

Van Dongen went on to say that the most exciting part of this competition for Philips is unearthing talent from South Africa, whose innovations will serve as local solutions to South African health care challenges. These include;

·       Carol Thomas’ iMobiMama IT platform and Mobile Kiosk that will increase access to maternal care highlighting antenatal care in public and private sectors.

·       Sudesh Sivarasu proposes to develop a low-cost portable mechanical non-invasive continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) ventilator that is mechanically operated and will be used to tackle Asthma in children aged five to 10 years old.

·       Ragesh Pillai is looking to make the management of diabetes easier which involves controlling blood sugar levels through monitoring one’s diet, exercising and checking blood glucose levels regularly to prevent the side effects of diabetes such as kidney failure.

Pillai’s aim is to tackle the challenge of improving diabetes management through diabetes management software service designed to facilitate remote monitoring and communication between patients and their care givers at low cost.

·       Finalist Dean Hodgskiss’s solution aims to increase the capacity of healthcare workers and medical equipment at primary healthcare sites through the utilisation of a mobile communication app specifically developed to operate effectively under challenging African telecommunications conditions. The proposed solution is an application which runs on Android, iOS and Windows, will provide caregivers in remote areas (even ones with very poor and unreliable internet connections) with the ability to connect to anyone else using the application located anywhere in the world.

·       Lastly, De Wet Swanepoel wants to provide access to early identification of hearing loss, using the low-cost hearScreen mHealth solution, which will result in more timely intervention for optimal developmental in children.

“We are inspired by these finalists and are looking forward to providing real healthcare solutions that will make a real difference in people’s lives,” concluded van Dongen.

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Load-shedding leads
local searches

South Africans are searching in the dark, according to the latest Google Search trends.

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With more 1 million search queries generated in the space of 76 hours, load-shedding was by far the top trending search on Google South Africa this week.

Valentine’s Day came a distant second.

After news emerged last Sunday of the impending stage 3 load shedding, South Africans had generated more than 1-million load-shedding search queries by the time Tuesday came around:

  • “Loadshedding schedule” – generated more than 100k searches on Sunday
  • “Load shedding schedule” – generated more than 100k searches on Sunday
  • “Eskom load shedding” – generated more than 100k searches on Sunday
  • “Load shedding Cape Town” – generated more than 50k searches on Sunday
  • “Load shedding schedule” – generated more than 400k on Monday
  • “Load shedding Johannesburg” – generated more than 20k searches on Monday
  • Load shedding schedule” generated more than 200k search queries on Tuesday

Leading up to Valentine’s Day, South Africans generated close to 300k search queries related to the romantic festival, including searches for quotes and gift ideas:

  • “Valentines Day” generated more than 100k search queries on Thursday
  • “Happy Valentines Day Images” and “Valentines Day Images” generated more than 10k search queries each on Thursday, with “Happy Valentines Day 2019” generating more than 20k search queries on Wednesday
  • “Valentines Day Specials 2019” generated more than 5k search queries on Thursday
  • “Love quotes” generated more than 5k search queries on Thursday
  • “Valentines Day quotes” generated more than 100k search queries and “Valentine messages” generated more than 50 000 search queries on Wednesday

Search trends information is gleaned from data collated by Google based on what South Africans have been searching for and asking Google. Google processes more than 40 000 search queries every second. This translates to more than a billion searches per day and 1.2 trillion searches per year worldwide. Live Google search trends data is available at https://www.google.co.za/trends/hottrends#pn=p40

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Showmax invites
student films

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Thanks to the growing popularity of video-on-demand services, there’s a new opportunity to help kickstart the careers of local filmmakers.

Numerous Hollywood blockbusters (District 9Tomb Raider 2018, and The Avengers: Age of Ultron to name a few) have featured substantial shoots in Johannesburg and Cape Town. While providing great opportunities for SA’s production talent, aspiring writers and directors don’t get the same benefit.

So where can local creatives showcase their work? Broadcast TV isn’t a natural home for unknown short films, and while self-publishing platforms are readily available hosting options, it’s tough to get noticed and get traffic when competing with videos from across the planet.

But with the emergence of video-on-demand services into the mainstream, there’s now a solution. The African film school AFDA has teamed up with the streaming service Showmax to give local talent a much larger platform than ever before. From 18 February, eighteen of the best recent short films made by AFDA students from their Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban and Port Elizabeth campuses will be live on Showmax. Drama, documentary, fantasy, and animation are all represented, in pieces running from under eight minutes to almost half-an-hour long. The full list of movies is included below.

Teresa Passchier, CEO of AFDA, said: “AFDA, Africa’s number-one school for the Creative Economy, is proud to kickstart this exciting and meaningful journey with Showmax and AFDA students, ensuring emerging young African filmmakers’ voices are heard and given a platform. It’s ground-breaking to share young, local, culturally relevant content on the same platform as Hollywood blockbusters. I am certain that this unique initiative will serve to boost and develop the African film industry and the careers of many young South African and African students alike.”

Included in the short films coming to Showmax are the award winners Junior and O-PunchaJunior, directed by Bert Dijkstra, picked up the Audience Award in the Made in South Africa Competition at the shnit Worldwide Shortfilmfestival Awards 2017. O-Puncha, directed by Adam Hansen, won two awards at the 5th annual Eldorado Film Festival: Best Student Made Short, and Best Editing – Alexander La Cock.

Another celebrated film is Sicela Amanzi directed by Mlu Godola, which talks to the subject of water shortage. The film’s heroine Zoleka is a mild-mannered young woman forced to go to extreme lengths when a small community’s only source of water unexpectedly collapses. The power of films like this is they shine a light on critical topical issues in new ways.

Speaking about working with the film school, Candice Fangueiro, Head of Content for Showmax, said: “There’s immense depth of filmmaking talent in Africa and it’s a privilege to be able to give that talent a home and a platform. Showmax is becoming part of the fabric of film and TV production in Africa, and importantly we’re doing this as a partner rather than just as a consumer. This is a key competitive advantage of being local and something we aim to continue to work on.”

AFDA is an Academy Award-winning institution, founded in 1994, and the first and only African film school to win an Oscar – for the Best Foreign Student film in 2006, the postgraduate film Elalini, directed by Tristan Holmes.

The full list of AFDA short films coming to Showmax is as follows:

Film titleDirectorGenre
Lullaby from the CryptKeenan Lott & Raven DavidsAnimation
Ko Ga CherenyaneSibonokuhle MyatazaDocumentary
IzilwaneKyllian RouxDrama
MallemeuleJaco Van BoschDrama
Canal StreetBrodie MuirheadDrama
On the FenceWarrick BewsDrama
The Righteous FewLindo LangaDrama
Hlogoma PeakLuke AhrensDrama
Frozen FlameCameron HeathmanAnimation
WolfBrett van DortFantasy
The Walk HomeSisanda DyantyiDrama
BearWesley RoodtDrama
JuniorBert DijkstraDrama
O-PunchaAdam HansenDrama
UmngenoSiphosethu NdungeDrama
DoreenLuvuyo Equiano NyawoseDrama
ForeverLindo LangaMusical
Sicela AmanziMlu GodolaDrama

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