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  • Lloyd Price

Digital health in Africa: hype or hope?



Exec Summary:


Digital health in Africa is a rapidly growing field, with the potential to improve access to healthcare and quality of care across the continent. Digital health technologies can be used to improve the efficiency of healthcare delivery, provide remote care to patients in rural areas, and collect and analyze data to improve public health.


Some of the key challenges facing digital health in Africa include:

  • Lack of infrastructure: Many parts of Africa lack reliable internet and mobile phone connectivity, which can make it difficult to implement digital health solutions.

  • Cost: Digital health technologies can be expensive, which can make them inaccessible to low-income populations.

  • Regulation: There is a lack of clear regulations governing the use of digital health technologies in Africa, which can create uncertainty for investors and developers.

Despite these challenges, there is a growing momentum for digital health in Africa.


Governments, private companies, and non-governmental organizations are all working to develop and implement digital health solutions that can improve the health of Africans.


Some of the key trends in digital health in Africa include:

  • The rise of mobile health: Mobile phones are becoming increasingly ubiquitous in Africa, and mobile health (mHealth) technologies are being used to provide a range of healthcare services, such as telemedicine, patient education, and disease surveillance.

  • The growth of e-commerce in healthcare: E-commerce is being used to sell a range of healthcare products and services, such as medicines, medical devices, and diagnostic tests.

  • The increasing use of big data in healthcare: Big data is being used to collect and analyze data on a range of healthcare issues, such as disease prevalence, patient outcomes, and healthcare costs.

Intro to Digital Health in Africa


Digital health has the potential to revolutionize healthcare in Africa. By overcoming the challenges and seizing the opportunities, digital health can help to improve the health of Africans and make healthcare more accessible and affordable.


Here are some examples of digital health initiatives in Africa:

  • The African Digital Health Initiative (ADHI) is a partnership between the African Union Commission and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). ADHI aims to improve access to quality healthcare in Africa by supporting the development and use of digital health technologies.

  • The M-Teach project is a mobile-based training program for healthcare workers in Africa. M-Teach uses video and audio recordings to provide training on a range of healthcare topics, including HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis.

  • The iSanté project is a mobile health platform that provides patients in rural Africa with access to healthcare services, such as diagnosis, treatment, and referrals. iSanté also collects data on patient health, which can be used to improve public health.

These are just a few examples of the many digital health initiatives that are underway in Africa. As digital health technologies continue to develop, they have the potential to make a significant impact on the health of Africans.



HealthTech success in Africa:


There have been a number of success stories in the field of health tech in Africa in recent years. Here are a few examples:

  • mPharma is a Ghanaian company that uses mobile technology to provide affordable access to medicines. The company has over 1,000 pharmacies in Ghana and Nigeria, and it has helped to reduce the cost of medicines by up to 50%.

  • MamaYe is a Kenyan company that uses mobile technology to provide maternal and child health services. The company's platform connects pregnant women with midwives, and it provides information on pregnancy and childbirth.

  • iSanté is a Rwandan company that uses mobile technology to provide healthcare services to rural communities. The company's platform provides patients with access to diagnosis, treatment, and referrals.

These are just a few examples of the many health tech success stories in Africa. As digital health technologies continue to develop, we can expect to see even more innovation in the field of health tech in Africa in the years to come.

Here are some of the factors that have contributed to the success of health tech in Africa:

  • The rise of mobile phones. Mobile phones are becoming increasingly ubiquitous in Africa, and this has created a large potential market for mobile health (mHealth) services.

  • The growth of the internet. The internet is also growing rapidly in Africa, and this is providing new opportunities for the delivery of healthcare services online.

  • The increasing availability of data. The increasing use of mobile phones and other digital devices is generating a wealth of data about the health of Africans. This data can be used to improve the delivery of healthcare services and to track the progress of public health initiatives.

  • The growing interest of investors. The growing potential of health tech in Africa is attracting the attention of investors, both from within Africa and from abroad. This investment is helping to support the development and growth of health tech companies in Africa.

The success of health tech in Africa is a positive development for the continent. By making healthcare more accessible and affordable, health tech can help to improve the health of Africans and to reduce the burden of disease.



Future of digital health in Africa


The future of digital health in Africa is bright. The continent has a young and growing population, and there is a high demand for healthcare services. Digital health technologies can help to improve access to healthcare and quality of care across the continent.

Here are some of the key trends that are expected to shape the future of digital health in Africa:

  • The rise of mobile health (mHealth): Mobile phones are becoming increasingly ubiquitous in Africa, and mHealth technologies are being used to provide a range of healthcare services, such as telemedicine, patient education, and disease surveillance.

  • The growth of e-commerce in healthcare: E-commerce is being used to sell a range of healthcare products and services, such as medicines, medical devices, and diagnostic tests.

  • The increasing use of big data in healthcare: Big data is being used to collect and analyze data on a range of healthcare issues, such as disease prevalence, patient outcomes, and healthcare costs.

These trends are expected to drive innovation in the field of digital health in Africa. By overcoming the challenges and seizing the opportunities, digital health can help to improve the health of Africans and make healthcare more accessible and affordable.


Governments, private companies, and non-governmental organizations are all working to develop and implement digital health solutions that can improve the health of Africans.

Here are some of the ways that digital health can be used to improve healthcare in Africa:

  • Telemedicine: Telemedicine can be used to provide healthcare services to patients in rural areas who would otherwise have to travel long distances to see a doctor.

  • Patient education: Digital health technologies can be used to provide patients with information about their health conditions and how to manage them.

  • Disease surveillance: Digital health technologies can be used to collect data on disease prevalence and track the spread of diseases.

  • Healthcare delivery: Digital health technologies can be used to improve the efficiency of healthcare delivery by streamlining administrative tasks and providing real-time access to patient data.

Digital health has the potential to revolutionize healthcare in Africa. By overcoming the challenges and seizing the opportunities, digital health can help to improve the health of Africans and make healthcare more accessible and affordable.


Thoughts, comments? Tweet @lloydgprice, or email lloyd@healthcare.digital and let's start a conversation :)







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