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Innovations that improve living environments and thereby contribute to health and wellbeing
Innovations that improve nutritional status of individuals and communities
Innovations that improve health, wellbeing and streamline health care processes.

Digital Health Solutions to Fight COVID-19

Please submit digital health products and solutions that can help countries, organizations and people to fight against COVID-19 pandemic and overcome the challenges posed by the same.
Innovations that improve cognition and education
Innovations that improve financial inclusion facilitating health and wellbeing

#5th Commonwealth Digital Health Awards#CWDHA#CWCDH

Awards Ceremony

Our Journey

The Commonwealth Digital Health Awards (CWDHA) was founded by Prof. Vajira  H.W. Dissanayake in 2016 as the signature event of the Commonwealth Digital Health Initiative which was the flagship project of his Presidency of the Commonwealth Medical Association from 2016 to 2019. The CWDHA was first held in October 2016 alongside the 24th Triennial Conference of the Commonwealth Medical Association in Colombo, Sri Lanka. The 2nd and 3rd editions of the CWDHA were held in October 2017 and in October 2018 while the 4th edition, which was to be held in Geneva in May 2020, was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and held as a virtual event in November 2020.


The Commonwealth Centre for Digital Health (CWCDH), which was launched during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in London in April 2018, took over its management following the first two editions and was able to expand the event to reach a global audience supported by many partners.

The award partners thus far included global technology leaders such as Microsoft® and Google®, leaders in the health domain such as the BMJ® group, and international organizations such as the ITU. The awards also gained support from industry leaders such as Janssen and global networks such as the European Connected Health Alliance.
With the COVID-19 pandemic, CWCDH decided to hold the 4th CWDHA as a virtual event in 2020. Despite it being a virtual event and the world having to deal with a deadly pandemic, the event attracted more than 200 submissions from more than 25 countries under different categories. A panel of 34 judges representing global leaders in digital health, technology and business evaluated the submissions and were able to recognize and unveil to the world many new digital health innovations that could transform the way the health systems function and healthcare is delivered around the globe.
The 5th edition of the CWDHA has also been planned as a virtual event. We believe that the 5th edition would be the most competitive CWDHA ever given the exponential increase in digital health innovations taking place during the last several months. The event will be the opportunity many of these innovators have been waiting for as it will provide the launch pad for these innovations to reach the next level – a disruptive digital health technology for the new normal.
In December 2015, the Sri Lanka Medical Association, nominated Prof. Vajira H. W. Dissanayake to be its nominee for the President of the Commonwealth Medical Association (CMA) from 2016 to 2019. Prof. Dissanayake, with a background in genomics and biomedical informatics, proposed the setting up of a Commonwealth Digital Health Network as the flagship project of his Presidency. He presented this to the Commonwealth Advisory Committee on Health (CACH) at its meeting from 17 to 18 March 2016 and invited the CACH to convene in Colombo in October 2016 during the CMA’s Triennial Conference. Prof. Dissanayake presented his plans for the network to the Council of the CMA at its meeting on 13 October 2016 and it was accepted.


The Commonwealth Medical Association (CMA) held its 24th Triennial Conference on the theme ‘Digital Health for Health and Wellbeing’ in Colombo, Sri Lanka from 14 to 16 October 2016. This conference was preceded by the meeting of the Commonwealth Advisory Committee on Health (CACH) from 12 to 13 October 2016. The deliberations of the CACH and the deliberations during the 24th Triennial Conference of the CMA resulted in the ‘Colombo Declaration’. The declaration emphasized the importance of Digital Health. The Commitment was further strengthened during a visit of the Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka to the Commonwealth Secretariat on 16 January 2017. The CACH met again from 21 to 23 March 2017 in London, UK and approved the Commonwealth Policy brief on “Digital Systems for One Health Global – Health Security and Health Systems Strengthening in the Digital Era”. This policy brief was presented to the commonwealth health ministers at the annual Commonwealth Health Ministers Meeting (CHMM) on 21 May 2017 in Geneva, Switzerland.


It was envisaged that a Commonwealth Digital Health Network be set up with a central hub based in London working in collaboration with regional hubs in Commonwealth nations. This commitment was reaffirmed at the 2nd Commonwealth Digital Health Conference held in Colombo from 10 to 12 October 2017. During the Commonwealth Heads of Government (CHOGM) meeting in London on 20 April 2018, the Commonwealth Center for Digital Health (CWCDH) was formally launched to serve as the central hub of the Commonwealth Digital Health Network.
Princeton Frugal Innovation Accelerator (PFIA) is based in the United States and was setup with the aim of fostering collaboration between entrepreneurs, inventors, governments, NGOs, philanthropies, and investors. PFIA and the CWCDH partnership facilitate innovators and startups coming through the Commonwealth Digital Health Awards (CWDHA) to prosper through funding, expert guidance, market reach, research and development as well as mentorship.

The PFIA catalyzes and showcases low-cost breakthroughs that solve significant health problems to the global audience and attracts and supports entrepreneurs and help them build sustainable startups. PFIA also validates startup solution technology, and has experts design a business model and operating model that fits with local requirements for rapid adoption and scalability. In particular, the PFIA focuses on building breakthrough solutions that have high commercial value including because they are “frugal” – genuinely low-cost and fit for use in low resource environments.

PFIA strongly believes that everything it does is in service of the people who would benefit from the solutions we help create. It also believes that the best solutions come from collaboration with diverse teams. As such, collaborations with PFIA are scaffolded by respect for people both inside and outside the organization as well as by upholding the core values of integrity, openness, honesty and adherence to strong ethical practices.

PFIA considers CWDHA as a window of opportunity for innovators and startups to break barriers and fast track their journey to success. As such, PFIA is on the lookout for innovations and startups submitted to the CWDHA with potential to reach new heights.


Facilitating 'New normal' in Health through Digital Health.

We believe that health does not exist in isolation but is connected with many other fields including education, finance, environment, and nutrition. The concept of social determinants of health is based on this very same idea emphasizing more the importance of considering digital health as an ecosystem where technologies representing education, finance, environment, and nutrition complements health technologies in uplifting health and wellbeing of the people.

Therefore, as with the 4th edition, the 5th edition of the CWDHA will also seek to bring to the forefront innovations related to social determinants of health. This would mean that applicants can pitch their innovations to a wider audience beyond the health and technology domain.

Aims of the Awards

Connecting the dots

The CWDHA aims to build a valuable digital products pipeline to improve the health and wellbeing of billions, including but not limited to those with few resources. In our experience, many digital innovators with excellent solutions cannot take the next step and become entrepreneurs. They lack even minimal resources and expertise to build a successful start-up.

We believe in sustainable entrepreneurship where business values and social values progress hand in hand. Towards this end, we are creating an ecosystem where commercial and mission-led development partners, governments, investors, researchers, and digital health experts complement each other’s skills to rapidly and efficiently develop and scale solutions in some of highest need categories. The awards are the nucleus of this ecosystem.

The key objectives of the CWDHA are:

  • To provide a platform for digital entrepreneurs, innovators and researchers from around the world to showcase their products and solutions.
  • To support high potential digital innovations, achieve high impact in Commonwealth countries and in the developing contexts by means of recognition, investment mentorship and scaling.
  • To create a marketplace for development partners, funding agencies, investors, governments and state institutions, and industry partners.
  • To facilitate networking between digital innovators, investors, researchers and development partners thus enabling a ‘connected health ecosystem’.
  • To promote sharing of digital technologies and ideas as global goods.


Beyond the Commonwealth

The CWDHA attracts submissions from all continents of the world from both Commonwealth and non Commonwealth countries. As with previous years, we will utilize multiple channels and networks to publicize the call for applications across the globe including but not limited to those listed below:

CMA The Commonwealth Medical Association formally networks with the National Medical Associations of all Commonwealth member countries. 
BMJ BMJ® is the Awards partner. This partnership enables us to publicise the awards through their online platforms covering all their journals to a global audience.  
AeHIN Asia eHealth Information Network (AeHIN), created by the World Health Organization, has more than 1000 members and 20+ partners from 25 countries. It has significant reach in the South and East Asian region.
IMIA International Medical Informatics Association, a global organization, has more than 100 society members and institutional members across the globe. It hosts one of the largest medical informatics conferences in the world, the MedInfo.
Past Applicants In the last three years, CWDHA has catalogued around 200 entrepreneurs who are willing collaborators in publicizing the Awards.
Social Media We use social media including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Targeted Advertising thus enabling a truly global reach.


CWDHA 2022Schedule

Following are the important dates in the CWDHA 2022 schedule:

01 August 2021

Call for applications

01 August 2021

15 April 2022

Closing date for applications

24 May 2022

Awards Ceremony

24 May 2022

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Ecosystem Partner


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