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The Epicenter of Digital Health Innovation: Sub-Saharan Africa

Can young African entrepreneurs substitute public health institutions on the African continent?

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.

Key Takeaways

  • On-Site Treatment

    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.

  • Data Management

    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.

  • Digital Solutions

    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.

  • Health Tech

    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.

  • Partnership

    International development partners need to work to remove barriers for scaling up, including trade agreements and regional integration.

  • Private Sector

    Private sector investment in global health is a necessity.

In conversation with ...

Daniel Shoukimas | Co-Founder & CPO mPharma
On rethinking health insurance infrastructure in Africa
Emilian Popa | Founder & CEO Ilara Health
On why the next pandemic might be metabolic
Dr. John Mark Bwanika | COO Rocket Health
On technology breaking barriers in accessing health care
Dr. Alexander Schulze | CPO Foundation Botnar
On learning how to better manage diversity
Diana Kinnert | CDU
On why it is time to learn from others
Elhadj As Sy | Chair Kofi Annan Foundation
On how to strengthen the health care system

Contact Persons

Sabrina Rupprecht, s.rupprecht@globalperspectives.org

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