Pfizer Philippines tackles global health crisis with the Health Impact Hackathon

With the global COVID-19 pandemic currently causing massive amounts of stress on the world’s public health system, Pfizer Philippines Foundation, Inc. (PPFI), the corporate social responsibility arm of Pfizer Philippines, helped the country’s creative minds find a solution by partnering with Impact Hub Manila to host the Health vertical of the Impact Hackathon 2021, held virtually last August 26 to 28.

One of the hackathon’s main challenges was finding a way to provide crucial health information to communities who have limited to no access to the internet, especially during the pandemic. 

Team Tesla won first place with CamMD, a desktop app that works as a first aid partner at home by identifying injuries or visible symptoms and uses object detection from different open-source libraries to determine the proper treatment. Team Hakushin Impact won first runner-up with Vacchain, an idea to use blockchain technology to digitize the country’s vaccination records and decentralize it in a comprehensive infrastructure, while Team Zenin Tech came in at second runner-up with Medic Marie, a personalized virtual health assistant that offers SMS-based healthcare services for rural communities.

The hackathon, currently in its third year, serves as a launching pad for bright and promising tech entrepreneurs and their impact-driven public health solutions, with a total of P75,000 in cash prizes up for grabs and incubation support from Impact Hub Manila. 

“We wanted to focus on the industry that we wanted to disrupt and innovate. We really felt that we needed to deep-dive into the health industry to understand and assess and forge a community to come together to build solutions, collaborate, and sustain,” said Ces Rondario, founder and CEO of Impact Hub Manila.

“At PPFI, we really love to embrace the idea of innovation. With innovation comes these great ideas that we may not normally think of, especially when it comes to health—some of the interventions for health have been in effect for decades. We realized that these participants could solve our problems if we give them a lot of time to hack it,” said Geof Garcia, executive director of PPFI.

Impact Hub Manila is the Philippine branch of Impact Hub, the largest network of entrepreneurs in the world, headquartered in Vienna, Austria. It has set itself up as an incubation hub focused on purpose-driven entrepreneurs whose venture ideas have the potential to impact the lives of Filipinos on a large scale.

Pfizer Philippines Foundation, Inc. is a non-stock, non-profit corporation organized to perform charitable and social welfare activities and programs geared towards improving health capacities, education, and awareness. Founded in 1997, PPFI seeks to serve Filipino communities to improve health outcomes for a stronger nation of healthier citizens.

Through collaborations with non-government organizations (NGOs) and civic welfare groups, the government and its relevant agencies, as well as through the engagement of Pfizer colleagues as volunteers, PPFI aims to innovate, implement, and sustain equity-based programs that will significantly improve Filipinos’ healthcare access.

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