On November 5, 2019, MAD Foundation led the Health Innovation Hackathon with SSES students at Karolinska Institute, Sweden. During the Hackathon, the participants were invited to approach the challenge in the Health Care sector, which was related to the Tuberculosis (hereafter - TB) patient empowerment. The event framework emphasized exploring the broader psycho-social context of poverty-related diseases beyond the Medical Treatment. The challenge was focused on the idea implementation of the Tuberculosis treatment center in Benin. The Health Innovation Hackathon will be followed by a workshop facilitated by MAD where the topic and the solution implementation opportunities will be further discussed by multiple stakeholders in Benin.
In many communities, such as in South Africa, the Tuberculosis patients are experiencing severe discrimination and solitude due to the quarantine which they are exposed to. Even after the recovery process, it is challenging for patients to return back to their communities and normal work life due to the social stigma associated with the diagnosis, and in some communities, the TB has been labeled as “the death sentence”.
The MAD Foundation’s ambition to organize the Hackathon was to turn the quarantine on its head by trying to discover new possible solutions on how to make the quarantine for the TB patients as the most empowering experience in their lives, during which they could develop talents, being surrounded by supportive community and where they would be enabled to explore new opportunities to look forward to after the recovery process.
After the MAD team framed the Health care challenge, the Hackathon continued with the Empathy exercise. The participants were asked to take a look under their chairs and some of them discovered envelopes. The envelopes denoted the diagnosis of Tuberculosis, and it contained ten pieces of paper in it, which the participant needed to pass around to surrounding people. The ten pieces of paper denoted the spread rate of Tuberculosis disease. During the stimulation, those people who were affected by Tuberculosis would be sent to quarantine, which meant that they became separated from their communities. The simulation enabled participants to reflect on the possible experience each Tuberculosis patient is going through during the first stages of discovering the diagnosis. According to the facts, TB is one of the top 10 death causes worldwide and although it’s curable, if not treated properly it can result in fatalities.
After the activity, the Hackathon’s participants were invited to share their insights on what concepts such as “Vulnerability and Resilience, Stigma and Inspiration” meant to them The discussion was followed by a co-ideation activity which challenged the change-makers to come up with a solution for the most empowering quarantine in an individual's life. After groups’ did brainstorming and explored a unified idea to work with, the MAD team challenged the groups to reframe the challenge and enable 10 times impact thinking.
At the end of the Hackathon, participating groups presented an innovative and empowering approaches to address the TB challenge. Groups came up with ideas to develop an online community platform (Q-tube) which would empower TB patients all over the world to share their experiences from quarantine and enable developing connections with patients, doctors, and families.
Throughout the presentations, the main idea emphasized for implementation was to create the most connected space on earth and eradicate the isolation. Other ideas concerned developing projects during the quarantine process where patients could design their own six month self-development plan, where they would be empowered to work with individual or group projects.
Health Innovation Hackathon gave inspiration for us in MAD and other change-makers to MAKE A DIFFERENCE in how the TB diagnosis is seen in the communities. To turn the quarantine on its head and to discover the new opportunities for the TB patient empowerment who are exposed to the quarantine, to enable them to design new and exciting future opportunities, inspire other community members and give hope as well as raise awareness and challenge the social stigma on the TB in the society.