L van NiekerkDr Lindi van Niekerk is the Health Innovation Lead for the Bertha Centre for Social Innovation at the University of Cape Town (UCT). She has conceptualised and pioneered Inclusive Healthcare Innovation as a key priority initiative between the UCT Faculty of Health Sciences and the UCT Graduate School of Business. Currently her work involves working closely with frontline healthcare workers, students, entrepreneurs and policy makers to reimagine the role innovation can play in strengthening healthcare delivery systems in Africa. She has a particular interest in healthcare innovation within public services in low and middle income countries. Lindi was trained as a medical doctor with a Masters in Public Health (London). Over the past few years she has worked across all levels of the South African health system and has a special interest in primary health care. Her passion for innovation started as a young clinician, implementing new programmes in the public sector to improve care delivery to low-income patients.

Dr van Niekerk’s presentation title and abstract:
Social Innovation in Health: a new lens to health system transformation?

Globally, over 1 billion people lack access to basic healthcare delivery. To date, a multitude of medical and scientific innovations have been developed to further progress and combat diseases. However, people in low-resourced settings have not always experienced the full benefits of these interventions, due to contextual-constraints and systemic challenges resulting in the failure to deliver basic health services. To cast a focus on innovation in delivery-dimensions of healthcare, social innovation is a useful lens to apply as it emphasises the need for inter-disciplinary approaches and recognises the value of the cross-sectoral actors developing and implementing innovative solutions. Social innovations present the opportunity for healthcare to be delivered more inclusively, effectively and affordably. In this discussion, Dr van Niekerk will share experiences of applying social innovation in the public sector in South Africa, as well as evaluating social innovations implemented across the global south. This presentation will seek to examine the contribution social innovation could play towards transforming healthcare systems.