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Bertha Centre for Social Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Bertha Centre

Inclusive Healthcare Innovation


The Bertha Centre Inclusive Health Initiative applies the lens of social innovation to health systems as an approach to achieving large-scale change. Our underlying value is that by the inclusive opportunity and participation of all people (healthcare workers, entrepreneurs, students and decision makers) new solutions can be developed. These solutions hold the potential of transforming people and processes in African healthcare.
“Working from within" we partner with frontline healthcare staff, students and entrepreneurs to rekindle their hope, reimagine what could be and provide support that facilitates them to develop appropriate solutions capable of improving care for patients.  Through our work at the frontlines of healthcare, we develop a deep awareness and understanding of the real needs and challenges in delivering care in Africa as well as about the role of change-agents in shifting the status quo.

“Building and translating evidence” we seek to advance country health systems through providing up to date knowledge on new concepts and business-models emerging from the frontlines. By collaborating with experts, academics and practitioners across various disciplines and regions we can co-create a new blueprint and evidence-base for social innovation in healthcare from within the global south.
“Growing a health innovation community” we act as a convener and facilitator for the local health community within South Africa and beyond. The potential for new systems-shifting solutions are abundant when igniting and uniting the collective resources, skills and agency of all people in this space.

Our Work & Partners

Social Innovation in Health Initiative

This initiative was launched in January 2015 with an open nomination call to all innovators and implementers across the global south with a request to share their solutions that have had a positive impact on care for people living with infectious diseases of poverty. A total of 179 nominations were received from 48 countries.

With the help of an expert panel, 25 solutions were selected for further in-depth case study research.

In December 2015, we held a Social Innovation in Health conference in Geneva, to share learnings, connect implementers, researchers and policy makers to collectively shape the blueprint for research and support of social innovation in health within the global south.
Our partners: The Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases, World Health Organization and the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship at Oxford University.
Follow our journey online at or on twitter @innova8ingHealth.

For more information, please contact

Groote Schuur Innovation Lab

We launched the first healthcare innovation lab in a public sector hospital in South Africa at Groote Schuur Hospital. This was created to support frontline healthcare workers develop their own innovations to address challenges they experience daily in delivering care. This new creative working space and the tailored curriculum supported these change-agents to move their ideas from concept to implementation. Currently eight staff-led innovation projects are being developed, and have received over R900 000.
Our partners: Groote Schuur Hospital, the Western Cape Department of Health, the UCT Faculty of Health Sciences and the Groote Schuur Facilities Board. 

You can download a short summary of the GSH Innovation Lab here

You can download a summary of the eight projects here.
Watch the video about the Innovation Selection Day here.
For more information about this project please contact

Centre for Health Market Innovations

In 2015, as a regional partner for the Centre for Health Market Innovations we studied new market-based innovative models in healthcare delivery operations in Kenya and Zambia. This research was conducted to better understand the factors responsible for the growing low-cost private primary care market in East Africa. 

The Zambian report uncovered integration models between state and non-state actors in primary care provision.

The Kenyan report examined low-cost primary care models, developed and implemented in the country, which could be translated into the South African healthcare sector. 

Inclusive Healthcare Innovation Platform

Inclusive Healthcare Innovation (iHI) is a platform to inspire, connect and equip change-makers and communities in healthcare across Africa. We seek to collectively reimagine healthcare, bring people together and build capacity for action.

To date this platform has drawn close to 1200 diverse members of the healthcare community in Cape Town – healthcare workers, entrepreneurs, students, and senior leaders.
iHI activities include:
1. Awareness Raising
Health Innovators Review: All across Africa there are a wealth of change agents who have already created a positive impact in their local communities. Their solutions are creative new approaches meeting a pressing health need among resource constraints. In this 120-page publication, we are showcasing inspirational innovators: frontline nurses and doctors who have succeeded to improve the care within the public sector, technology organisations enabling more inclusive care as well as large-scale collaborative partnerships which has successfully reimagined structural processes and financing of care. 

You can download this publication here.
2. Health Innovation Gatherings
Inclusive Healthcare Innovation Summit: This gathering attracted 300 delegates from a variety of sectors (government, academia, not-for profit and private sector) and disciplines (healthcare, technology, business and design) united with the theme of “addressing needs, designing solutions” The South African National Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, presented the keynote address and emphasised the importance of innovation in healthcare delivery systems. 

Download iHI insights Report here.
Innovation Speaker Series: Throughout the year we host various talks in Cape Town to share learning about healthcare innovation. The topics of our talks range from technology, entrepreneurial approaches, issues on scale and new innovative models.
Healthcare Hackathon & Hacklet: We regularly host practical workshops to guide anyone interested in developing a healthcare solution through an innovation process. Collectively participants from all walks of life work together to co-create a new solution addressing a real and pressing health needs. Our workshops range from two hours to two days.

3. Projects
We seek to act as a facilitator and exchange platform for people wanting to get involved in innovation projects. To date we have worked with several public sector hospitals to address issues from prolonged patient waiting times to chronic care for children with long term health conditions. By pairing students and professionals with frontline care providers, resources are mobilised and new solutions co-created.
Our partner: UCT Faculty of Health Sciences.
For more information on iHI please contact

If you are a student interested in iHI, please contact

Our Publications
If you’d like to join our journey, contact us

The initiative can be reached via its direct email address, which is:

If you would like to subscribe to our Inclusive Healthcare Newsletter, please email

Fellowship opportunities

We welcome the opportunity to work with professionals who are interested in applying their skills to the South African healthcare innovation environment and contributing to the development of our initiative.
Fellowships are arranged on a case-by-case basis and range in length from between four to six months.

Please contact

Please note this is subject to availability and timing.