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Can we leverage tech for improved health outcomes?

Covid 19 has amplified calls for digital health initiatives and has changed how governments approach the deployment of digital health. In Africa, development partners have largely contributed to a large amount of resources on the implementation of digital health programs.

The digital health landscape is increasingly changing and more often than ever as we navigate the impact brought about by Covid.

The growth of Digital Health startups in Africa, is still at its infancy. Most African governments have been slow to open up to digital business. Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda and South Africa are the front runners in this space.

From areas such as e-training, telehealth, e-pharmacy, health financing, biotechnology, assistive technology, health on demand etc., the private sector is mainly the one on the push to create demand for the services from startups while governments have been slow adopters with issues around regulation not well addressed and putting in place laws on data rights, privacy and security.

Success stories in Rwanda

Covid-19 Contact tracing: The paperless Open Data Kit app, which can be downloaded on a mobile device, is being used to track infections. Outbreak investigation teams collect data for analysis.

COVID-19 surveillance: To offer early warnings of suspected COVID-19 cases, a digital reporting surveillance system for health facilities is being deployed to monitor influenza-like diseases and severe acute respiratory infections in real time.

Infection prevention: To limit healthcare personnel' exposure, robots have been utilized in healthcare settings to conduct simple tasks such as checking temperatures and monitoring patients.

Notable startups that have helped create demand in some African countries

  1. Rwanda - Babyl, Kasha, Zipline

  2. Nigeria - Helium health, Lifebank

  3. Kenya - CarePay, Mjali

  4. Benin - Rema, Kea

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