challenges and opportunities in Africa’s digital health

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Omnia Health Live Africa set to bring together policy drivers, thought leaders, expert clinicians and decision-makers to transform healthcare’s most pressing challenges through collaboration and empowerment.

The international healthcare community sits at a critical juncture, particularly with the COVID-19 pandemic placing a spotlight on some of the industry’s biggest resource challenges.



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According to Wouter Molman, Executive Vice President for Informa Markets – Healthcare, the pressures placed on Africa’s healthcare systems over the last six months have led to a stronger call for innovative technological and digital solutions to support better patient management, universal access and disease prevention.

The event [Omnia Health Live Africa to be held from 12-16 October 2020] will address human, infrastructural and policy challenges and opportunities relating to the adoption of these digital health technologies in Africa.




Technologies such as the Internet of Things, wearables, and sensors are opening up possibilities for easier monitoring of individuals’ health in remote areas.
According to reports, more than 400 million people live on the continent with little or no access to healthcare. Half of this population lives in rural areas, but only one-quarter of doctors in Africa are deployed there.

Big data and telemedicine are also gaining widespread adoption across Africa. Recently, the Health Professions Council of South Africa amended its guidelines for telemedicine. The technology has risen to the challenge to fill the void created by the lack of medical personnel on the continent.



For instance, wider adoption of telemedicine turned out to be an asset for countries such as Nigeria where, according to the World Health Organisation, there are only four doctors per 10,000 patients, or South Africa where reportedly at least 80 per cent of the population doesn’t have direct access to professional healthcare advice because they either can’t afford it or live in rural areas without medical facilities.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is also a radical game-changer, offering tremendous promise in transforming healthcare in Africa. It acts as a viable tool for tackling health challenges, reducing costs, and improving health access and quality. A breakthrough use of the technology has been in using it to scan through lung CTs for signs of COVID–related pneumonia.



The event has adopted six pillars as the foundation for the knowledge-sharing sessions. These include Patient Safety, Leadership, Diagnostics, Infrastructure, Supply Chain and Evidence-Based Medicine.

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