Digital health technology improves patient safety in Africa


In a 2018 report by the World Health Organization (WHO), it was revealed that within Africa, about 15 per cent of all hospital activity and expenditure was a direct result of adverse events, and the costs of treating safety failures amount to trillions of dollars each year.

The investments needed to improve patient safety pale in comparison to the costs of harm.

Millions of patients across Africa die or are injured every year due to unsafe and poor quality healthcare. A majority of these cases could be avoidable through the implementation of digital health technology, with out-of-hospital care and monitoring forecasted to grow globally by 30 per cent to cross the $25 billion mark in 2019.

Ryan Sanderson, Exhibition Director of Africa Health Exhibition and Conferences, explains that the demands on healthcare systems in Africa are also increasing as non-communicable diseases, such as cancer, hypertension, diabetes and heart disease are on the rise. He also hinted on how technology is transforming how healthcare is delivered on the continent, giving more people in remote areas around the world access to better care.

Fewer than 50 per cent of Africans have access to modern health facilities. While this remains a challenge for many developing nations on the continent, countries like Rwanda are embracing technology as a way to improve healthcare for its citizens, especially those living in remote and rural areas.

Sanderson says that Rwanda is a pioneer in digital health in Africa. ` Their success includes the use of an artificial intelligence-based algorithms in mobile phones to get diagnosis, doctors  using telemedicine to consult, blood delivery by medical drones and a central electronic health records system ensuring data is collected accurately. The insights that can be learnt from projects like this are critical in order to achieve Universal Healthcare (UHC) `

`Africa needs to embrace digital technology on every level, ` adds Sanderson. `Artificial intelligence, telemedicine, drones, health apps, and mobile solutions will bring healthcare to a whole new level. Smart health needs to be recognized as one of the pillars of a country`s information and communication technology (ICT) policy. ICT is really something that governments need to prioritize for development as a whole. `

Innovation in digital healthcare will be at the forefront of discussions at the 9th Annual Africa Exhibition and Conferences which will be held at the Gallagher Convention Center , Johannesburg from 28th – 30th May 2019. Key topics include;

Digital health: Past, Present and the Future

E-patients role in a sustainable digital health system

Rwanda Health Project: Digital solutions for a country-wide health

While offering the latest medical education through 19 CPD accredited conferences, supported by various healthcare associations across South Africa, the 2019 edition will also be debuting four new conferences including Digital Health, Laboratory Medicine, Infectious Diseases and Physiotherapy.

Also read: Amref to setup health systems training across Africa




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