In conjunction with World Diabetes Day, Sanofi held the nation’s first digital youth hackathon called Sweet Spot Malaysia to initiate a solution-based conversation on diabetes.
The event held virtually, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health Malaysia, Undi18 and Arus Academy, aims to engage the youth in generating solutions to tackle diabetes in Malaysia.
According to the National Health and Morbidity Survey 2019, an estimated 3.9 million adults have diabetes, that is about 1 in 5 adult Malaysians. In fact, we have seen an increase in prevalence from 13.4% to 18.3% within four years and this figure is projected to rise to 21% by the end of 2020.
“At Sanofi, we understand the pivotal outcome of creating value together. Thus, we have initiated a collaborative event to meet the increasing demands of our healthcare to source potential solutions that will benefit almost 4 million Malaysians living with diabetes.
“As a health journey partner, we aim to support people with health challenges to allow them to live life to its full potential. The Sweet Spot Malaysia is a great way to deliver a solution to a problem statement, in addition to providing a platform for our youth to activate their innovations.
It also bridges the solution gap by giving participants an opportunity to pitch their ideas to the Ministry of Health, who is the national key agent to implement their solutions,” said Marine Queniart-Stojanovic, Country Lead of Sanofi Malaysia & Thailand, and General Manager General Medicines Malaysia, Singapore & Thailand.
Dr Feisul Mustapha, Deputy Director of the Non-Communicable Disease (NCD) Section, Disease Control Division, Ministry of Health, Malaysia shared that we need to do more than increase understanding on diabetes prevention.
Team 7, led by Nurfarhani Irfan, grabbed the top spot for their award-winning Architecting Health idea. The team received a RM5,000 prize in recognition of their plan that aims to subtly lead students into making healthier choices in their food consumption.
Second place was awarded to Team 10 with their Gula Sebalik Batu idea which also targeted university students. This team was awarded a cash prize of RM3,000. Team 1 was at third place, winning a cash prize of RM2,000 for their MyDiabetes @ MySejahtera idea which was directed at retirees and senior citizens.
According to Team 7, their idea came about as they sought a solution that tackled the problem of diabetes in a way that can be easily adopted by the target group. The team’s focus on students was because these young adults will be making independent decisions on their eating habits, decisions which will shape their lifestyle choices as they grow older.
“The winning team’s idea truly encapsulated their vision of reaching out to their fellow youths and getting them to start developing positive habits with regards to their health and lifestyle. We saw diverse and practical thinking skills that will be able to address this silent epidemic. Having youth join the conversation to develop solutions is imperative as they are an agent of change for the community.
“This hackathon is a testament to their capabilities, and we are glad to have this opportunity to collaborate with Sanofi, Arus Academy and the Ministry of Health to expose our local youth to the type of leadership skills needed to be a changemaker,” said Tharma Pillai, Co-Founder of UNDI 18.
Alina Amir, Co-Founder of Arus Academy stated that this hackathon event is truly promising in terms of making an impact for the diabetes community. It is this type of design thinking that will drive a change in our nation by improving health outcomes. For more information on Sweet Spot Malaysia, please visit http://sweetspotmsia.my/