Press release

UNAIDS Director of Innovation receives prestigious Social Innovators of the Year award

GENEVA, 19 January 2022—The Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship has announced that the Director of Innovation at UNAIDS, Pradeep Kakkattil, has been awarded a 2022 Social Innovators of the Year award. Mr Kakkattil received the prestigious award for his work in creating the Health Innovation Exchange (HIEx), a platform that links innovators, governments and investors and finds solutions to global health-care problems, from COVID-19 diagnosis to the cost of medicines.

“Today, one in every two people around the world don’t have access to basic health care, which is why social innovations and technologies are so critical to scale up services and address the ever-widening inequalities in access to health care,” said Mr Kakkattil.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, innovators and communities have demonstrated the potential of human ingenuity in responding to health challenges. By bringing health system actors to work closely with innovators and communities, HIEx has been able to fast-track the adoption of innovations and facilitate investments for scaling up innovations that particularly address the needs of the most vulnerable.

“HIV and COVID-19 have shown the price the world has to pay if we ignore investing in resilient health systems,” added Mr Kakkattil. “HIEx contributes to build trust between the public and private sectors to help identify challenges and rapidly implement proven technologies and innovations to maximize health impact.”

The announcement was made on the second day of the World Economic Forum’s Davos Agenda 2022, a virtual forum bringing global leaders together to focus on shaping solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. Mr Kakkattil was among 15 Social Innovators of the Year awardees, who included a Brazilian entrepreneur using hip-hop to turn favela youth away from crime, a Dutch nurse revolutionizing home health care and a park ranger turned tech founder using Minecraft to revive Australia’s indigenous culture.

“The Social Innovators of the Year 2022 represent a new ecosystem of leaders who are driving change and shifting organizations and systems towards a more just, inclusive, sustainable future,” said Hilde Schwab, co-founder and Chairperson of the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship.

The foundation was created in 1998 by Klaus and Hilde Schwab to support a new model for social change, combining the values of mission, compassion and dedication with the best business principles to serve the most disadvantaged and build a better society. For the past 20 years, the foundation has supported the world’s leading social entrepreneurs in their efforts to create a more just, equitable and sustainable world.


The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) leads and inspires the world to achieve its shared vision of zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths. UNAIDS unites the efforts of 11 UN organizations—UNHCR, UNICEF, WFP, UNDP, UNFPA, UNODC, UN Women, ILO, UNESCO, WHO and the World Bank—and works closely with global and national partners towards ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals. Learn more at and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.


Sophie Barton-Knott
tel. +41 79 514 6896

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