AFRICA – With Africa emerging as the new breeding ground for innovative digital health solutions, Belgian American e-health company Andaman7 and African Sustainable Development Advisors (Afrisda, Inc.), have signed a partnership agreement to support digital health implementation in Africa.
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for global health solutions to benefit all nations.
Africa’s vast population which bears the world’s greatest disease incidence and significant healthcare shortages, makes digital health a key area of focus.
Furthermore, the challenge and opportunity to increase the use of digital health solutions to benefit local populations, increase real world evidence and data related to diverse populations for global therapy developments, makes this a golden opportunity.
Digital technologies have already formed a vital part of the COVID-19 response worldwide, offering case identification, contact tracing and evaluation.
These rapid responses leverage billions of mobile phones, online datasets, low-cost computing resources and advances in machine learning and natural language processing.
However, more needs to be done, not only to address existing challenges but to maintain momentum beyond the pandemic.
“We seek to raise awareness around the future of digital health in Africa to encourage donors and investors to support African governments and organizations, as well as private sectors working in Africa, as well as support African health authorities to design laws and policies that will strengthen Africa’s health system as a key element in innovation and technology adoption,” Dr Djo Matangwa, co-founder and CEO of Afrisda Inc, explains.
Vincent Keunen, founder and CEO of Andaman7, noted that there is already precedent for this. In telecommunications, many African countries skipped the classic landline step and went straight from no communications to mobile communications. The same was seen in the banking industry.
Keunen also established that his company’s technology, with solutions that work offline, can help in places where there is limited electricity and internet, as is common in Africa.
The World Health Organization (WHO) in 2018 urged countries to maximize the use of digital health technology to improve patient safety and equitable access to quality health care.
The Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Gebreyesus, pointed out that electronic health records, the use of smart phones and smart watches, electronic medical prescriptions, artificial intelligence, eLearning, and many other existing digital technologies can play a vital role in improving patient safety, raising awareness, training health care professionals and empowering patients and families.
The global digital health market size was valued at USD 96.5 billion in 2020 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15.1% from 2021 to 2028 according to a study by NCBI.
Increasing cases of obesity, high prevalence of chronic diseases, such as diabetes, Cardiovascular Disorders (CVDs), growing need for remote patient monitoring services, and increasing patient engagement & connectivity owing to high adoption of digital health technology are the major factors promoting the market growth.