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Digital solutions hold the key to future of quality healthcare

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Africa is already showing great strides in boosting telemedicine, eLearning and mobile health. PHOTO | SHUTTERSTOCK

The African Union Agenda 2063 aspirations envisions a prosperous continent based on inclusive growth and sustainable development. For this to happen, there is need to safeguard the citizenry’s healthcare and food security.

Governments have prioritised achieving universal healthcare access in their national development agenda but progress towards have been hindered by lack of sufficient investment. The story of health systems across the continent has mainly been dominated by lack of institutional integrity, inadequate human skills resources, and barely improved financial and technical capacity.

Africa Union (AU) development agency, NEPAD, admits the Covid-19 pandemic exposed the weaknesses of the fragile healthcare system. In a post in a blog series published in 2022 by the Secretariat on behalf of the AU High-Level Panel on Emerging Technologies (APET) and the Calestous Juma Executive Dialogues (CJED), the agency notes that Africa has a heavy load of chronic diseases and roughly twice as many diseases per person as the rest of the world.

The fragility of the healthcare system has made it difficult for many people to access quality care, early detection of disease and treatment. Where healthcare services are available, the costs are too high.

But Africa’s health systems story could change drastically following the proliferation of digital apps and increasing mobile connectivity. That digital solutions are the future of equitable, quality health care and resilient health systems for Africa need not be gainsaid.

The continent is already showing great strides in boosting telemedicine, eLearning and mobile health.

In 2018, a study by Ernest & Young predicted that over a relatively short period, the core business of health will be anchored around digitally enabled models of care, including virtual delivery and interactive person-centered tools. That prediction is fast becoming a reality in Africa.

The continent,is firmly in the race for good health as several innovative e-health initiatives sweeps across the region. We have seen the sprouting of various apps ranging from general wellness tips to telemedicine for booking and payments.

Dr Moka Lantumis is the CEO of Checkups Medical Center.