Africa Mental Health Data Prize Seeks Applicants

The African Population and Health Research Center [APHRC] and Wellcome are now accepting applications for the Mental Health Data Prize—Africa 2024. This initiative aims to address the gaps in understanding anxiety, depression, and psychosis across the continent. Innovators, researchers, and startups are invited to compete for up to ten awards, each worth £200,000, providing a year of funding. African-led multidisciplinary teams will collaborate to create scalable innovations and data-driven insights to improve mental health understanding in Africa.

The application period, running from July 1 to 30, 2024, follows a five-month virtual capacity-building program that engaged over 1,300 participants from across Africa. The program covered data science, evidence-based policy, AI, and other relevant fields. APHRC facilitated the formation of research teams with complementary skills and provided access to metadata sources. Applicants can submit proposals here, with winners announced on October 15, 2024.

Dr. Catherine Kyobutungi, APHRC’s Executive Director, emphasized the importance of this prize in mobilizing Africa’s top minds to tackle pressing mental health issues using innovative data science approaches. Dr. Ekin Bolukbasi, Data Prize Manager at Wellcome, highlighted the enthusiastic response to the capacity-building program as evidence of the growing importance of data in mental health research.

Mental health remains a critical, yet often neglected, aspect of health in Africa. Research by the Africa CDC indicates a significant rise in mental health disorders, including anxiety, depression, and psychosis. The Mental Health Data Prize—Africa 2024 seeks to generate groundbreaking ideas and evidence-based interventions to address these challenges.

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