AFRICA – Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with telecoms industry body the GSM Association (GSMA) to bring the transformational power of mobile connectivity to support Africa’s most significant healthcare challenges.

The GSMA will work closely with Africa CDC on HealthConnekt Africa, a bold new initiative to connect all health facilities and workforce in Africa to the internet by 2030.

The initiative will start with a small group of pioneer African Union Member States and communities, which will see their health facilities connected to the internet and health workers equipped with smart devices, allowing them to improve the quality of care provided to their clients through access to vital online resources.

The partners will also work together on promoting homegrown healthtech innovations and organizing convenings that bring together the public health and tech communities in to chart ways of accelerating the digital transformation of the health sector in Africa.

The MOU is intended to provide a framework for partnership between the two organizations on a range of priorities spanning from digital strategy, policy, and governance frameworks across the continent to drive adoption of mobile technologies with potential to strengthen Africa’s health security and outcomes for millions.

“Connectivity and digital innovation are at the core of our digital transformation strategy. Access to the internet is a key enabler of our vision to extend universal quality care to all by 2030,” said Dr Ahmed Ogwell Ouma, Africa CDC Director.

“We look forward to working with members of GSMA to bridge the digital divide that still limits the reach and impact of our health workforce.”

In the MOU, both parties have agreed to collaborate in the design, development and promotion of technology policies, initiatives and investments that will strengthen health systems and, ultimately, improve the lives and livelihoods of African citizens.

The aim is to accelerate the adoption of digital technologies in support of public health objectives of the African Union Member States, including the enablement of continuity of care across borders.

“While mobile growth across the region has been phenomenal over the past two decades, more needs to be done to harness the power of the technology across Africa’s healthcare sector,” said Angela Wamola, Head of Sub-Saharan Africa, GSMA.

“Bringing together expertise and resources will help establish a powerful new infrastructure providing African healthcare workers access to the information they need in a timely fashion and the intelligence necessary to help prevent the spread of disease across international borders.”

Africa CDC recently announced a new Public Health Order, outlining priorities for strengthening African institutions for public health, strengthening public health workforce, and promoting action-oriented and respectful partnerships, among others.

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