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Jazz collaborates with NIC for an all-digital National Health Hackathon

The hackathon mentored individuals to find solutions for healthcare emergencies like Covid-19.

Updated 16 Jun, 2020 12:52pm

Since the pandemic hit, challenges for businesses around the globe, including in Pakistan, have soared to unprecedented heights.

The way businesses act, interact and run has been continually shifting in a bid to contain these challenges and ensure, if not improve, business continuity.

As Covid-19 brings with itself a unique research opportunity, students and individuals developing solutions for communicable diseases are posed with newer challenges.

Jazz stepped forward to identify, hone and mentor unique ideas with its most recent collaboration.

About Jazz xlr8's all-digital hackathon

In an attempt to find solutions for current and future healthcare emergencies and improve preparedness and responsiveness to the coronavirus outbreak, the National Incubation Center (NIC) and Jazz xlr8 launched an all-online National Health Hackathon.

The NIC and Jazz xlr8 have taken this initiative in partnership with UNDP Pakistan, Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations & Coordination (NHSRC), Association of Pakistani Physicians of Northern Europe - APPNE, Rehman Medical Institute and Open-Silicon Valley.

As the world undergoes an unprecedented change owing to the Covid-19 outbreak, global healthcare is emerging as the biggest challenge that is transforming how we live in the present and prepare for the future.

The current global emergency is forcing healthcare professionals, institutes and governments across the world to not only develop a response strategy for the current situation, but also strategise to deal with such unforeseen emergencies in the future.

“We are encouraging the innovators to use technologies of their choice to come up with viable solutions for the Covid-19 pandemic. I'm hopeful that some useful prototypes and ideas will come out of this initiative, which can be utilised by the government in the fight against the spread of the virus,” says Jazz CEO Aamir Ibrahim.

Since most parts of the world, including Pakistan, are finding ways to deal with the outbreak using social distancing and lockdown measures, this hackathon was able to create an all-digital space where developers can ideate, experiment and build solutions that could potentially address the pandemic.

The National Health Hackathon received more than 1200 applications from across the world, including Pakistani diaspora in US, UK, Middle East and Europe.

A total of 123 applications were shortlisted for the first round after which 25 final startups made it to the next rounds.

At the end of the programme, all participants received virtual mentorship and advisory support from leading experts in the industry.

Themes that got the ideas rolling

Following are the themes that were handed to participants to build their ideas and pitches:

Preventive solutions

Curative solutions


The hackathon intended to keep the participation criteria flexible in order to invite a wide range of innovative ideas. The teams presented ideas, prototypes and solutions that are relevant, practical and scalable.

Along with prizes, winners of the hackathon have received a wild card entry to NIC Pakistan’s 8th Cohort starting in July 2020 along with a chance to be part of the Jazz xlr8 programme.

The winning ideas

The hackathon presented a wide range of unique ideas in its grand finale held on April 22nd, 2020; final announcement of winners was made on 1st May.

Here are the ideas that were handed over the winning titles:

Detect Now

Using a non-invastive AI-based system, Detect Now diagnoses Covid-19 by sensing dry cough.

Brains behind Detect Now, Muhammad Zeeshan Karamat, says, "I'm thankful to this platform for giving us a hackathon opportunity to bring innovative solutions in response to Covid-19 and the whole team of NIC and partners who are consistently helping us in bringing Detect Now to market."

Watch this:

CNN Money Switzeland also interviewed co-founder Detect Now to find out how a smartphone will be able to test people for Covid-19 by just hearing them cough.

Here's how the app diagnoses the virus:

Learning Pitch

Learning Pitch, co-founded by Wajahat Abbas, is an award winning EdTech startup (Best EdTech Startup - PASHA ICT Award 2019-2020) that offers EdX/Coursera-style (i.e. MOOC) platforms for Pakistani students. 

These include: - My Inter Academy for Intermediate students of Sindh & Punjab - TSB Education for CA/ ACCA/ ICMA students 

MyInterAcademy is  for Pakistani students in Grades 11-12 across Sindh and Punjab. Content covered by the platform includes coursework in Urdu/English languages for pre-engineering, pre-med subjects.

TSB Education provides online courses for CA, ACCA, ICMA students. Students can log onto a pre-set series of course contents and work their way through self-paced videos, group chats, and assignments against which an instructor provides feedback.

Students can take notes, attempt past papers and work on short MCQ-style assessments.  The Learning Pitch system requires internet connection and a computer to function, and is also optimised to run on low-bandwidth.


Ideated by Urooj Zia, Mohafiz is a platform that manufactures four types of facial masks for preventive care against Covid-19. These include:

These masks have been designed and manufactured in Pakistan, from materials which are also manufactured in Pakistan; packaging of the product is recyclable and 100% locally produced.

Speaking about the need and importance of mentoring such ideas in the times of coronavirus, co-founder Teamup, NIC, Zouhair Khaliq said, “The global emergency at hand calls for quick action, with innovation being the need of the hour. There can be no better use of technology than helping the world get past the crisis it is currently facing. This is the right time to find new ways to use technology to transform our lives for the better.”

This content is produced in paid partnership with Jazz and is not associated with or necessarily reflective of the views of or its editorial staff.