Entry Opens For Mental Health Data Prize Award

Entry Opens For Mental Health Data Prize Award.
Entry Opens For Mental Health Data Prize Award.

The African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC), in collaboration with Wellcome, has officially commenced the application process for the Mental Health Data Prize—Africa 2024. This prestigious award aims to address crucial knowledge gaps concerning anxiety, depression, and psychosis throughout Africa. The unique prize is open to visionaries, scholars, and emerging businesses vying for up to ten grants, each valued at £200,000, accompanied by a year of financial support. The initiative will bring together diverse teams led by African professionals to develop scalable innovations and data-driven insights that will advance the comprehension of anxiety, depression, and psychosis on the continent.

The application window, active from July 1 to July 30, 2024, follows a comprehensive five-month virtual training program. More than 1,300 individuals from various African regions participated in this program, focusing on disciplines such as data science, evidence-based policy, AI, causal inference, and more. APHRC facilitated the formation of interdisciplinary teams by matching individuals with complementary skills and granting access to relevant metadata sources. Prospective candidates can submit their proposals via https://www.mentalhealthdataprizeafrica.aphrc.org/applications. Successful applicants will be announced on October 15, 2024, following a rigorous evaluation process.

Dr. Catherine Kyobutungi, the Executive Director of APHRC, emphasized, “The Mental Health Data Prize – Africa 2024 is not merely a competition; it serves as a clarion call for Africa’s brightest minds to address one of the most urgent health challenges of our time. We are seeking groundbreaking concepts, collaboratively developed with stakeholders in mental well-being, that leverage advancements in data science and data-driven insights to revolutionize mental healthcare across the continent.”

Dr. Kyobutungi urged passionate and innovative individuals committed to enhancing mental health outcomes in Africa to apply for the Mental Health Data Prize – Africa 2024 and contribute significantly to pioneering research and innovation in the field.

Despite its significance, mental health remains a neglected aspect of healthcare in Africa. Recent studies by the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) have highlighted a notable increase in mental health disorders, affecting millions with anxiety, depression, and psychosis. However, there exists a substantial gap in the utilization of data-driven insights to address these challenges effectively.

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Dr. Ekin Bolukbasi, the Data Prize Manager at Wellcome, remarked, “The enthusiastic response to our capacity-building program underscores the growing acknowledgment of data’s pivotal role in transforming mental health research. We eagerly anticipate the innovative solutions that will emerge from this prize to tackle the substantial gaps in understanding the complexities and evidence-based interventions for anxiety, depression, and psychosis in Africa.”

The prominence of mental health issues in Africa is on the rise, with the burden of disability due to mental and substance use disorders surging by 52% between 2000 and 2015, surpassing the continent’s population growth rate of 49%.

To enroll for the Mental Health Data Prize – Africa, kindly visit https://www.mentalhealthdataprizeafrica.aphrc.org/applications.

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