Table 2

Social innovation initiatives over time (2015–2021)

Initiative nameYear awardedLocationFounderChallenge focusInitiative summaryEvolution since awards
Indigenous Health Agent Professionalization Program2015BrazilResearcherLimited access to health services by indigenous communities and a lack of formally recognised indigenous health providers.Designing and delivering a formal curriculum to equip indigenous community members to become community health agents. The educational programme was codeveloped with the community and adapted based on sociocultural and territorial realities
  • A training programme was discontinued due to a lack of political acceptance of federal health authorities of indigenous community health agents.

  • Training programme materials have been packaged and shared in reports, books, and conferences.

Integrated Rural Health Model2019ColombiaDistrict health teamLimited access to health services in a geographically isolated rural community and ample social determinants influencing health negatively (low socioeconomic status, agricultural pesticide use, food scarcity, armed conflict)A comprehensive primary health delivery model combining western and indigenous health practices, delivering care at home, coordinating referral pathways, and providing community training via an agricultural educational park and community health networks.
  • Expansion of alternative health promotive services provided, for example, music therapy, phytotherapy, yoga.

  • Enhanced maternal and perinatal health referral routes

  • Agricultural Park receives support from the local government and the Ministry of Economic Development. Two additional demonstration gardens were established.

  • Economic development through selling organic agricultural produce from the farming community

  • Continued receiving financial support from City district authorities

  • New collaborations with other stakeholders for example, World Food Program

Zika Kids2019ColombiaResearcherSuboptimal comprehensive care for children born with congenital abnormalities because of the Zika Virus.A comprehensive inter-institutional specialist medical care programme addressing the needs of Zika children and their families and mobilising mothers to provide peer support.
  • Outreach clinics continued in two towns (Barranquilla and Neiva) and adapted to deliver consultations electronically (due to COVID-19)

  • Additional services added for example, psychiatry

  • Ongoing financial support from Johnson & Johnson

  • A public policy developed for Zika Control and Management in Colombia

Eco-health Approach to Fight Chagas Disease2017GuatemalaResearcherA lack of addressing ecological factors responsible for Chagas disease.Partnering with the community to address Chagas risk factors through improving housing and community education.
  • Spread approach through partner agencies (eg, World Vision)

  • Funding support received from IDRC, enabling scale up from 11 villages to 45 villages

  • Delivered training to the Ministry of Health in El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua

Comprehensive Health Approach for Chagas Disease2017GuatemalaResearcherHigh rates of congenital Chagas disease in the Comapa region.Partnering with the community and government stakeholders to address Chagas risk factors, educate the community and screen, pregnant women, for Chagas infection.
  • New partnership with an Argentina NGO 2019, that supported alternate funding opportunities and Ministry of Health (MoH).

  • New tools and educational materials development on prenatal and neonatal testing, in partnership with the MoH

MosquitaMed2017HondurasMedical doctorHealth worker shortages, especially specialist care, and low health literacy in the rural population of La Mosquitia.An e-health service delivering educational content to local communities and information exchange between health providers in the rural and urban health centres.
  • The project was funded and absorbed by a private company and a full-time team has been appointed to run the project.

  • Expanded from working in five health facilities to 57 health facilities, across 10 regions.

  • Partnership established with the University, providing medical specialists to support the project. Thus, expanded from primary care to also specialist care.

  • Catalysed the discussion around m-Health in Honduras.

Centre for Development of Scientific Research2015ParaguayResearcherHigh prevalence of Chagas disease in the rural communities living in the Chaco region.A living labs methodology to engage all health stakeholders, including communities, in developing solutions to combat Chagas disease, for example, vector-resistant housing
  • Work with the communities continues intermittently based on available funding.

  • Collaborate with MoH to conduct community campaigns and provide information to the MoH to inform decision-making.

  • Established collaborations with other international universities.

Mamas del Rio2019PeruResearcherLimited geographical access to maternal and child health services in the rural communities living in the Amazon.A technology-enabled training programme for community health workers and traditional birth attendants on antenatal and post-natal care, complimented by community sensitisation and supportive supervision.
  • The initiative is being expanded as part of a binational plan between Peru and Colombia supported by the InterAmerican Development Bank. It scaled from 84 communities in Loreto (Peru) to include 30 additional communities along the Peruvian and Colombian border (Mamas de la Frontera).

  • Adapted to support with the COVID-19 response in Peru and Colombia.

  • The initiative will become a part of the Colombian health system.

  • New political leadership in Peru leveraged as an opportunity to influence policy on the role of community health agents.

  • An independent non-profit was established to administer funding.

  • Additional research evaluations of the programme have been conducted as well as peer-review scientific publications

  • Received financial support as a response to COVID-19.

  • IDRC, International Development Research Centre.