The Epicenter of Digital Health Innovation: Sub-Saharan Africa
Can young African entrepreneurs substitute public health institutions on the African continent?
Circle: The Epicenter of Digital Health Innovation: Sub-Saharan Africa
October 17, 2022
After two years of the Covid-19 pandemic, the World Health Summit took place in Berlin again and for the first time in cooperation with the World Health Organization. The urgency of discussing global health, investments in research and development, and long-term cooperation is more critical than ever before. In consequence, innovative solutions must not only be considered, but advanced. It is important to note that innovation here does not mean technology only – innovation is in the business models and how patients are addressed.
Many private companies and start-ups are complementing and assisting public health infrastructure. Especially on the African continent, the connection of technology to health is quickly building and leapfrogging ahead of global standards. Four successful start-ups from the continent presented their work and entered a discussion with the key stakeholders present.
Health tech companies act within the national regulations, operating like any other clinic, however, save many patients the long and expensive trip to a primary healthcare clinic. For more intricate medical services, on-site treatment is still needed.
The companies have developed innovative business models, earning revenue through the large number of patients and clients. This offers great prospective for long-term and sustainable investment, as patient and client numbers are continuously growing.
Through using digital solutions in health, vast amounts of (new) data are generated and stored, which can be used in a variety of ways, including early detection of diseases or patient behavior. This can improve healthcare and health infrastructure.
Digitalization in Europe is lacking. Europe and the rest of the world can learn from the innovations from Africa. The innovative solutions found in health tech in African companies can be replicated in different contexts and are thus relevant and competitive on a global level.
Education and Training
There are many barriers on the ground. In many contexts there is a fragmented market, a lack of well trained and full-time available qualified staff and challenging state regulations. More educational opportunities, specialized know-how, funding, full-time positions for medical personal und support for technical problems are needed.
International development partners need to work to remove barriers for scaling up, including trade agreements and regional integration.
Private sector investment in global health is a necessity.
In conversation with ...
Sabrina Rupprecht, firstname.lastname@example.org
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