Pandemic-Inspired Digital Solutions and Innovative Pathways in the Health Sector
This event was part of the 2021 U.S.-Africa Business Summit.
Public and Private sector collaborations enable global digital transformation, and the COVID-19 pandemic is driving innovative digital solutions in the health sector. The leadership of governments is vital in creating an enabling environment for these crucial collaborations, especially in ensuring a reliable digital health enterprise architecture is in place.
In Africa, there is a need for agility from the public sector to adopt innovation, including opportunities for data integration. However, it is critical to contextualize the digital solutions and technologies deployed within each country’s unique circumstances, ensuring integration to existing systems, interoperability, DHIS2 compatibility, and other factors that provide both utilization of the rich data and sustainability of solutions deployed.
In designing digital health solutions, it is essential to understand that innovation goes beyond technology. Using a human-centered approach and understanding the African continent and its unique heavy public sector role will enable relevant solutions. The simplicity of the technology/ solution is the incentive that drives utilization by users and primarily the public sector in the continent.
Digital health presents opportunities to leapfrog Africa to match developed countries’ health delivery by leveraging technology to optimize limited resources. These opportunities include leveraging the value of data integration and information sharing in the continent. With a focus on COVID-19, It is important to integrate health services and utilize all existing data and resources to springboard achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC) goals.
Getting digital transformation and access is an existential matter for Africa. A great opportunity exists for Africa to benefit from the current digital revolution / industrial wave. COVID-19 has trajected the continent to the needed right steps for digital transformation. According to the World Bank, governments should match successful collaborations with policies that accompany investments in digital infrastructures such as regulatory framework that fosters competition and innovation in telecommunications, provisions of reliable and affordable electricity, investments in education, and upgrading skills.