In the grand symphony of life, there exists a refrain that echoes through the ages – “My Health, My Right.” It’s a melody that sings of the inalienable right to health, a chorus joined by voices from every corner of the globe. On this World Health Day, we tune our hearts to this profound theme, amplifying the call for Universal Health Coverage (UHC)—a promise of care that leaves no one behind. Amidst the verses of innovation and progress, we celebrate the individuals and ideas orchestrating a healthier world for all.

In embracing UHC, we recognize that it isn’t merely a goal; it’s the foundation of health and well-being in communities around the globe. The second edition of the Africa Young Innovators for Health (AYI4H) Awards has highlighted this theme, honoring young innovators driving us towards UHC. By highlighting these pioneering innovations, we affirm our dedication to a future where health services are universally accessible everywhere.

Pharmarun: Redefining medication access

Teniola Adedeji’s Pharmarun stands out as a beacon of innovation, clinching the first prize for its impact on medication accessibility. “Pharmarun is like a trusted partner for healthcare professionals, ensuring that patients receive their medications exactly when and where they need it,” Teniola describes. “It was born from a simple yet profound belief: everyone deserves their medication on time. This innovation saves patients and healthcare providers time fosters better adherence to treatment plans and prevents delayed treatment outcomes. It’s about being there for those who need us, ensuring that distance or circumstance doesn’t keep anyone from their right to health.”

Photo-Kabada: Pioneering care for newborns with jaundice

Moses Ochora’s Photo-Kabada shines a light on the critical area of neonatal care. He eloquently shares the vision that led to its creation “Photo-Kabada was born out of a need for a phototherapy device that caters to health workers in low-resource settings – a one-stop point for a baby with neonatal jaundice. We innovated around the demand to treat more than one baby, monitor their vitals, and have a solar-powered battery to solve the load-shedding issue. Our device offers comprehensive care for a sick newborn baby with jaundice. Photo-Kabada is designed to support a doctor or nurse in a low- or middle-income country NICU, but it is more than a device; it promises every child the right to a healthy start in life.”

Neosave: Advancing neonatal care with a personal touch

Nura Izath discusses Neosave, a crucial technology for newborn care, offering tools that assist healthcare professionals in improving survival rates and health outcomes for the most vulnerable patients. She explains, “Neosave emerged from the deepest place of love and concern—watching over a newborn and feeling the weight of responsibility. It’s our way of saying, ‘You’re not alone’ to healthcare workers and families.”

Trash 4 Health: Turning waste into well-being for all

Muhammad Abdullahi’s Trash 4 Health introduces an innovative approach to healthcare access. He shares,”With Trash 4 Health, we’re not just cleaning up the environment: we’re turning every piece of trash into a chance for better health. It’s about ensuring that ‘My Health, My Right’ extends to every corner of our communities, especially where it’s needed most.”

As we celebrate World Health Day, we delve into the narratives of those making “My Health, My Right” a reality. Through the lens of the Africa Young Innovators for Health Award, we envision a future where innovation supports healthcare delivery and solidifies the foundation for a world where health coverage is truly universal.

As we step into Women’s History Month,  women innovators, Sheeba Niwensiima and Nura Izath bring their passion and groundbreaking insights through two standout webinars.

Sheeba Niwensiima, co-founder of Photo-Kabada and the distinguished first prize winner of the Africa Young Innovators Award’s second edition, will illuminate the Galien Africa Association’s webinar on 12 March. Themed “Women in STEM in Africa: Opportunities and Challenges,” the event aims to narrow the gender gap in STEM. Niwensiima’s story is a testament to the empowerment of women in STEM, emphasizing the importance of overcoming obstacles and capitalizing on opportunities.

Nura Izath, the visionary behind Neosave and the second prize laureate of the Africa Young Innovators for Health Award, will grace the African LeadHERs Forum on 14 March. Organized by Speak Up Africa, the forum addresses the urgent need for sustainable investment in women, breaking barriers, and fostering financial support for women-led ventures. Izath’s participation underscores the pivotal role of innovation and female leadership in achieving gender equality.

On International Women’s Day, both innovators shared their perspectives:

Sheeba Niwensiima sees International Women’s Day as a beacon of progress, a time for reflection on her personal journey, and the collective strides toward gender equality. “It’s a celebration of resilience and determination, honoring the women who inspire us to push boundaries and innovate,” she notes, emphasizing the day as a reminder of the continuous growth and innovation potential despite obstacles.

Nura Izath celebrates International Women’s Day as a tribute to women’s remarkable contributions to innovation. “It’s a day to honor the collective and individual perseverance and creativity of women facing challenges,” Izath reflects, highlighting the importance of recognizing women’s advancements and the journey still ahead.

Sheeba Niwensiima sees International Women’s Day as a beacon of progress, a time for reflection on her personal journey, and the collective strides toward gender equality. “It’s a celebration of resilience and determination, honoring the women who inspire us to push boundaries and innovate,” she notes, emphasizing the day as a reminder of the continuous growth and innovation potential despite obstacles.

This International Women’s Day let’s draw inspiration from Sheeba Niwensiima and Nura Izath’s resilience, inclusivity, and advocacy for sustainable investment in women’s empowerment. Their stories not only spotlight the barriers women face in breaking through but also celebrate the significant strides toward a more inclusive and equitable future.

7 March 2024 – The Africa Young Innovators for Health Award proudly commenced its mentorship program with a successful kick-off on 4 March, signaling a pivotal step forward in nurturing health innovation across the continent. This three-month program is designed to link promising young innovators with distinguished business leaders, enhancing their impact on healthcare solutions in Africa.

The program boasts a lineup of esteemed mentors, each paired with an innovator, to provide targeted guidance and support.

Carl Manlan, Vice President of Inclusive Impact & Sustainability at VISA, will mentor Muhammad Abdullahi of Trash4Health, sharing his extensive experience in sustainability, social impact and inclusive finance. Pier Spinazze, specializing in Venture Capital at Launch Africa Ventures, founder of PASSMED and co-founder of Bluum LTD.  pairs with Dr. Moses Ochora of Photo-Kabada, to navigate the complexities of health innovation investment. Chahir Fahmy, an expert in business development and digital transformation will offer his tech-forward insights to Nura Izath of Neosave, focusing on leveraging technology for health solutions. Finally, Nithya Ramanathan, CEO & Co-Founder of Nexleaf, brings her entrepreneurial spirit and innovation expertise to guide Teniola Adedeji of Pharmarun.

The mentors shared their enthusiasm and wisdom for the journey ahead. Chahir Fahmy offered a realistic yet supportive perspective, saying, “I cannot tell you that I will have all the answers, however, we can figure it out together.”

Pier Spinazze reflected on the value of mentorship based on his experience, noting, “Having mentored before, I know the impact of positive leading can have on entrepreneurs.”

These mentor-mentee pairings are at the heart of the mentorship program’s mission to accelerate the development of groundbreaking health solutions. Through personalized guidance, these young innovators will enhance their leadership skills, business acumen, and capacity to innovate, pushing the boundaries of what is possible in public health across Africa.

The Africa Young Innovators for Health Award is dedicated to empowering a new generation of entrepreneurs in the health sector, ready to face the continent’s health challenges with innovative solutions. As the mentorship program unfolds, it promises to be a transformative journey for both mentors and mentees, underlining the award’s commitment to improving health outcomes throughout Africa.

For further details on the mentorship program and other initiatives by the Africa Young Innovators for Health Award, please visit https://africayounginnovatorsforhealth.org.

In celebration of the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, we are honored to feature Teniola Adedeji, the pioneering winner of the Africa Young Innovators Award in October 2023 for ‘Pharmarun’. This year’s theme, ‘Inspire Inclusion,’ resonates through our column as we explore Teniola’s impactful journey, her contributions to science, and how her work exemplifies the critical need for women’s inclusion in scientific fields to forge a better world. The Q&A has been edited for conciseness and clarity.

 I worked in a pharmacy for about 7 years before starting Pharmarun. During that period, I noticed how difficult it was for an average person to get all their medication in one pharmacy. People often had to visit multiple pharmacies and it was a chore. I realised that, as a pharmacist, I had the internal knowledge to easily leverage my colleagues to get medications faster. This realization sparked the idea for Pharmarun, a platform to streamline medication access and improve healthcare delivery for all.

Pharmarun is an on-demand platform that offers a convenient solution to fragmented access to essential medications. By aggregating a network of pharmacies, we provide the largest medication inventory and increase affordability, enabling users to access their medication when and where they need it. We also provide advanced pharmacy experience by enabling virtual consultations with licensed medical professionals, automated medication refills, laboratory test bookings and quick health checkers such as BMI, Calorie and ovulation checkers. 

Pharmarun saves people time and money spent in wandering from pharmacy to pharmacy and delaying treatments. People can access any of our services from medication purchases to consultations and pay conveniently via our finance partners immediately or in instalments. Pharmarun is helping to improve health outcomes and reduce preventable deaths.

I hope my achievements will serve as a source of inspiration and empowerment for other young women and girls to pursue careers in science. We’re not devoid of strong female role models. Often, what’s lacking is access to their true stories and the obstacles they faced along the way. Growing up in Nigeria, I’ve witnessed the incredible potential within our communities and the importance of sharing our journeys openly. By breaking down barriers and sharing my own experiences, I aim to show them that, despite the challenges, success is attainable. Through mentorship and support, I want to demonstrate that, with determination, hard work, and access to resources, they too can thrive in the field of science. I hope that my journey will encourage them to dream big, believe in themselves, and pursue their passions in science with confidence.

As a female entrepreneur, I encountered the funding gap, a common challenge for women-led businesses due to perceptions of lower risk-taking. To overcome this, I focused on refining my pitch, exploring alternative funding sources, and seeking mentorship from successful female entrepreneurs. By turning this challenge into an opportunity to showcase the strength of women-led ventures, I transformed obstacles into stepping stones on my path to success.

My vision for the future is to continue expanding Pharmarun’s impact and reach across Africa. I plan to further develop our platform, leveraging technology to improve medication access and healthcare delivery for communities in need. Additionally, I aim to foster more collaborations with pharmacies and healthcare providers to enhance our services and ensure universal health coverage. Ultimately, I am committed to driving positive change in the healthcare sector and empowering individuals to lead healthier lives.

I want to share a message of encouragement and empowerment with aspiring female scientists around the world. To all the young women and girls who dream of pursuing careers in science: believe in yourself, your abilities, and your potential to make a difference. Don’t let anyone or anything hold you back from following your passion and achieving your goals. The world needs your creativity, intellect, and unique perspective now more than ever. Embrace your curiosity, embrace challenges as opportunities for growth, and never stop pushing the boundaries of what is possible. Together, we can create a future where women and girls are equally represented and celebrated in the field of science. So go ahead, dream big, aim high, and know that you have the power to change the world through science.

Platforms like the Africa Young Innovators for Health Award play a crucial role in changing the narrative for women in science. For Pharmarun, winning this award has been an amazing opportunity to showcase the incredible work we’re doing, particularly as a business co-founded by two women. The decision to ensure both male and female winners not only promotes gender equality but also validates the significant contributions of women-led businesses like ours. Winning first prize further reinforces the message that women are driving innovation and making a positive impact in the healthcare sector. This recognition inspires us to continue our mission of improving healthcare access and amplifying the voices of women in science and innovation.

UHC Day, December 12, 2023

In 2021, 4.5 billion people were not fully covered by essential health services. Protecting people from the financial consequences of paying for health services out of their own pockets reduces the risk that people will be pushed into poverty.

UHC means everyone has access to the healthcare services that they need, of good quality, without the risk of financial hardship (WHO 2007). To achieve #UHC in Africa, young people must be empowered to make informed decisions, develop local innovations and participate in decision-making processes affecting their health.

The Africa Young Innovators for Health Award (AYIHA), the youth flagship program of the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA) and Speak Up Africa, celebrates the ingenuity of young African entrepreneurs dedicated to advancing Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

This UHC Day, we celebrate and recognize the four young leaders who won the second edition of the AYIHA program and their trailblazing innovations. Mrs. Teniola Aderonke Adedeji from Nigeria and Dr. Ochora Moses from Uganda stood out as first prize winners, with their innovations marking significant strides toward UHC in Africa. Mrs. Izath Nura and M. Abdullahi Muhammad Habibu, also from Nigeria, were honored as second prize winners. These innovators, through their unique perspectives and commitment, are vital to the quest for healthcare for all, as recognized during the UHC Day celebrations.

“By aggregating pharmacies, streamlining logistics, and embracing digital solutions, our platform ensures that essential medications reach individuals across communities promptly,” she shared. Dr. Ochora Moses, another first prize winner and the mind behind Photo-Kabada, highlighted the need for local solutions to meet health challenges. He stated, “Photo-Kabada is a phototherapy device that treats simultaneously three babies with jaundice. For Africa to achieve UHC, we need to focus on developing our local solutions because we understand them better.”

Mrs. Teniola Aderonke Adedeji, CEO of Pharmarun and first prize winner, emphasized the importance of her platform in enhancing the accessibility, affordability, and quality of healthcare.

Second prize winner Mrs. Izath Nura, CEO of Neosave, described her innovation, Autothermo, as a lifeline for babies, enhancing efficiency in regions with a shortage of skilled health workers.

“Our collective journey to Universal Health Coverage is embodied in this device, urging collaboration and awareness for a brighter, healthier future across our continent,” she reflected.  Mr. Abdullahi Muhammad, Founder of Trash-4-Health and another second prize winner, underscored the role of his initiative in leveraging waste as a valuable resource to improve healthcare access. He noted, “Through these efforts, we aim to align with the commitments of Universal Health Coverage by investing in comprehensive health coverage, strengthening health systems…and promoting innovation to ensure equitable access for all.”

Mrs. Izath Nura, CEO of Neosave

Through the Africa Young Innovators for Health Award, we acknowledge the outstanding contributions of young entrepreneurs creating innovative solutions every day to shape safer, better, and healthier futures and build their capacity to realize their potential as the enablers of change within the healthcare landscape – today.  Their efforts are a testament to the power of youth-led innovation in shaping a healthier, more inclusive future for Africa.

Key leaders in digital health convened at the landmark Global Digital Health Forum held in Washington DC from December 4-6, 2023, setting the stage for accelerated progress in digital transformation to enhance health access and outcomes around the world. The forum convenes influential stakeholders from across sectors to align around priorities, share latest evidence and best practices, forge partnerships, and accelerate progress towards universal health coverage and health-related Sustainable Development Goals powered by digital transformation of health systems worldwide. A perfect occasion to hold an event on African Women in Digital Health: Removing barriers for women’s meaningful engagement and leadership in digital health.

In opening remarks, Jean-Philbert Nsengimana, Chief Digital Advisor for the Africa CDC, explained the urgent need for AWiDH to help achieve the Center’s digital health goals given immense barriers women still face entering and advancing in technology-oriented careers and entrepreneurship. The detriments of lagging women’s inclusion resounded throughout the discussion led by moderator Fara Ndiaye, Deputy Executive Director at Speak Up Africa. Trailblazer Gloria Karirirwe, co-founder of Auto-Thermo and winner of the second edition of the African Young Innovators for Health Award co-led by Speak Up Africa and IFPMA, spotlighted financing access obstacles for women founders in digital health as well the dire need to find strategic partnerships animated by the motivation to help scale women-led startups. ESwatini HMIS Manager Zanela Simelane showcased her country’s gender policy guiding national digital policies – a leading example the region can model. She emphasized the values of diversity stating, “when we leave women and girls behind, we lose vital perspectives.” USAID’s Sherri Haas urged partners to leverage influence for women’s empowerment at formative stages and called to fund locally-led organizations to develop technology targeting community needs. Finally, Stephanie Watson-Grant, Deputy Director at JSI’s Country Health Information Systems and Data Use (CHISU) Program, reinforced AWiDH’s value for positioning more women in digital architecture roles to enhance user-centered health information systems and access for all. She challenged the continent and its partners to consider what we can start doing differently tomorrow – whether adopting training programs, evolving hiring practices, funding women-led ventures, implementing policies without bias or simply making more room for women’s voices in digital health design.

If digital health is meant to leave no one behind and pave the way to universal health coverage, then no one can afford to ignore the representation gap for African women. Convening dedicated forums such as this one for awareness, planning and progress tracking are imperative. The insights shared during the event reinforced that expanding opportunities for women and girls to shape and lead digital health in Africa is imperative, not just for gender equality, but for catalyzing progress towards our shared aspirations of health and prosperity across the continent. Hosts – CHISU and Speak Up Africa – sounded the alarm and rallied stakeholders to fix our attention on this critical gap in women’s meaningful participation. The launch of the groundbreaking African Women in Digital Health network ushers in an organized, Pan-African platform to continue driving visibility, coordination and accountability from all parties willing to remove the barriers holding back gifted women from taking their rightful place as innovators and leaders of digital health transformation.

Global Digital Health Forum,4-6 December, 2023, By Fara Ndiaye, Speak Up Africa’s Deputy Executive Director

My recent journey to Kigali for the Africa Health Tech Summit (AHTS) and the African Women in Digital Health (AWiDH) panels was nothing short of an exhilarating rollercoaster ride through the future of healthcare in Africa. As I reflect on this experience, I am genuinely thrilled to share the profound impact and excitement these two panels brought into my life.

The Africa Health Tech Summit, AHTS, held from October 17th to 19th, was a remarkable event that gathered over a thousand experts, innovators, and government officials under one roof to explore the endless possibilities of digital health in Africa. The energy was electric from the very beginning.

I had the immense honor of participating in the first panel discussion titled “The New Africa Digital Health Deal: Stronger Health Security Through Digital Innovation.” The session was opened by H.E Dr. Jean Kaseya, whose 4Cs of driving successful digital health are imprinted in my mind. As digital health drivers, we must nurture communities, enhance commodities, have cash for investment, and connectivity. The plenary facilitated by Yacine Djibo, CEO of Speak Up Africa, was a melting pot of visionary individuals who are leading the charge in the digital health revolution. It was humbling to share the stage with esteemed figures like Dr. Sabin Nsanzimana from the Government of Rwanda, Lacina Kone, Director-General of Smart Africa, Dr. Huyam Salih, Director of AU I-BAR, and Ambassador Belen Calvo Uyarra, the E.U Ambassador to Rwanda.

I was blown away by the collective wisdom shared on this panel. We delved deep into the various facets of advancing health security through digital innovation, including the strengthening of primary care, disease surveillance, health innovation, data governance, and the workforce. These discussions were illuminating, and they shed light on the transformative power of digital solutions in healthcare across the continent.

The African Women in Digital Health panel discussion was another remarkable chapter of my Kigali journey. This initiative, co-led by the GIZ African Union and Speak Up Africa, aims to break down barriers and create a conducive environment for African women and girls in the digital health space. The session, titled “Breaking Barriers – Women shaping the future of digital health in Africa,” emphasized the need for meaningful engagement and leadership of women in the entire digital health ecosystem. The importance of policy, collaboration, and infrastructure was underscored, leaving us with a sense of determination to create positive change for women in digital health.

These two panels were experiences that showcased the immense potential of digital health in Africa and the power of collaboration. As I reflect on my time in Kigali, I am filled with hope and enthusiasm for the future of healthcare on our continent, especially the gender gap consciously being bridged. The connections made, the insights gained, and the collaborative spirit I witnessed have left an indelible mark on me.

The journey has just begun, and I am more committed than ever to playing my part in reshaping healthcare equitably and innovatively across Africa. As a woman in digital health, I am more than convinced that opportunities are vast, and the challenges are surmountable when we work together. AHTS and AWiDH have illuminated the path forward, and I am excited to be part of this extraordinary movement towards a healthier, more inclusive, and more digitally advanced Africa.

By Lola Aderemi, Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer of Pharmarun, First Prize winner of the Africa Young Innovators for Health Award (Second Edition)

I recently had the privilege of attending the Africa Health Tech Summit of 2023 in the vibrant city of Kigali this October. The experience was truly transformative, providing a glimpse into the promising future of healthcare technology in Africa. The dedication of the panel speakers, all united by a shared mission to leverage technology for improving healthcare accessibility, stood out to me. They drew from their experiences and openly discussed the challenges they encountered on their journey to address pressing health issues in African communities through innovative technology solutions. This was truly inspiring and served as a powerful reminder that meaningful change begins with individuals who are willing to roll up their sleeves and make a difference.

I particularly enjoyed the focused African Women in Digital Health (AWiDH) panel discussion on “Breaking Barriers: Women Shaping the Future of Digital Health in Africa” which emphasized the use of technology to enhance healthcare accessibility and quality across the continent. The issue of limited access to digital devices, particularly among women in rural areas and older women, resonated deeply with me because it’s a reality I frequently witness in my community. It’s not an abstract concept; it’s a reality we see all around us. The digital divide is a significant barrier to progress, and addressing it is crucial to ensure that the benefits of healthcare technology reach everyone, regardless of their location or circumstances.

The panels also highlighted the tremendous potential of digital solutions to revolutionize healthcare delivery in Africa, including discussions on early disease detection, remote patient monitoring, and improving healthcare infrastructure. It was a glimpse of the endless possibilities that lie in a future where technology plays a pivotal role in ensuring the well-being of individuals and communities alike.

In retrospect, I couldn’t help but hope for more fireside chats and small group discussions. Just imagine the wealth of knowledge and experience that could have been shared! The participants, each with their unique journeys in the realm of digital health inclusivity, would undoubtedly have added valuable insights. These conversations would have further strengthened our sense of community and deepened our understanding of the challenges and successes experienced by those dedicated to promoting inclusivity in healthcare technology.

Between panel discussions, I had the opportunity to connect with fellow attendees, all sharing a passion for healthcare technology from diverse backgrounds. The Founder and Executive Director of Speak Up Africa, Mrs. Yacine Djibo, showcased exceptional networking skills, introducing us to influential figures in the digital health sector. We had the privilege of learning from dignitaries like Mr. Jean-Philbert from Africa CDC, gaining invaluable insights from their wealth of experience. Additionally, I had the honor of engaging with Mrs. Marie Chantal, Founder of Umubyeyi, who is part of the Women Innovators Incubator. Her journey, from having just an idea to fully implementing it in her community in Rwanda, served as a great source of inspiration. These networking opportunities solidified my belief in the collective power of collaboration. It became evident that progress in healthcare technology is a team effort, and the potential for groundbreaking partnerships was limitless.

The Africa Health Tech Summit underscored the pivotal role of women in advancing inclusivity and innovation in digital healthcare across Africa—let’s champion this vision together!

Written by Sheeba Niwensiima, Co-Founder of Photo- Kabada and First Prize winner of the Second Edition of the Africa Young Innovators for Health Award

“On October 18th, 2023, I was both excited and humbled to be part of the African Women in Digital Health (AWiDH) panel of speakers discussing “Breaking Barriers: Women Shaping the Future of Digital Health in Africa,” in collaboration with Speak Up Africa. The panel featured several distinguished speakers, including Aissatou Ba, Program Officer at the Women’s Economic Empowerment ECOWAS Gender Development Center; Stephanie Watson-Grant, Deputy Director at CHISU/JSI; Ibrahima Khaliloulah Dia, Head of Digital Health at the Ministry of Health and Social Action; and myself, Nura Izath, AYI4H Winner and Founder of Neosave Limited. Dr. Maimouna Diop Ly, Senior Advisor for Health Policy and Financing at Speak Up Africa in the Republic of Senegal expertly moderated the panel.

During the AWiDH panel discussion, I was asked to address the question: What are the key factors necessary for sustainable digital health and technology transfer from the perspective of innovative start-ups led by African women? In response, I emphasized the importance of providing women-led start-ups with equal access to funding opportunities, creating networking platforms where women entrepreneurs can exchange ideas, learn about current trends in digital health, and connect with stakeholders and funders. I also highlighted the significance of implementing capacity-building programs to enhance digital health skills and training initiatives in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). Lastly, I underscored the importance of mentorship and involving women in decision-making processes.

Similarly, on October 19th, 2023, I joined another panel discussion titled “Youth in Digital Health Network – Youth in Digital Health,” in partnership with CDC Africa. The panel was expertly moderated by Ms. Rebecca Cherop, a YAT4H Member and Mental Health Champion, with a keynote address by Dr. Chrys Promesse Kaniki, Africa CDC Senior Technical Officer for Strategic Programmes. Additional speakers included Pr. Paul Lalvani, Founder and Director of the Empower School of Health, the Center for Digital Learning (CDL), and the Center for Leadership Development; Mrs. Lucy Setian, Director of Digital Transformation at the Novartis Foundation; myself, Ms. Nura Izath, Founder and CEO of Neosave Technologies; and Dr. Ochora Moses, Co-founder and Project Lead at Photo-Kabada Limited, the Africa Young Innovators for Health Award winner in 2023 from Uganda. During this panel, I had the opportunity to share our journey with Autothermo innovation, the challenges we encountered, and how we overcame them. I also emphasized the importance of youth exploring the digital health field, as these skills can be acquired in a relatively short span of 2-3 months.

From both panel discussions, inclusivity in digital health must also consider the involvement of the elderly in using such services. Furthermore, establishing platforms for women and youth to engage in tech activities and connect with peers on similar journeys is essential.

For me, as the leader of Neosave startup, this platform offers us exposure to potential partnerships, investor connections, increased visibility, and networking opportunities. It also provides a chance to inspire and motivate young individuals, including women, to take initiative in the digital health sector. This platform is an excellent opportunity for collaboration, learning, and growth among digital health entrepreneurs from across the African continent.

I would like to extend my gratitude to Speak Up Africa, IFPMA, USAID’s Country Health Information Systems and Data Use (CHISU) program led by JSI, GIZ African Union, CDC Africa, and Smart Africa for providing such a platform for young innovators like us who are dedicated to developing locally tailored solutions for Africa.

By Nura Izath, CEO of Neosave and Second Prize winner of the Africa Young Innovators for Health Award (Second Edition)

Experience at Africa Health Tech Summit 2023, by Moses Ochora, Founder and CEO of Photo-Kabada and First Prize winner of the Second Edition of the Africa Young Innovators for Health Award

In the heart of Kigali, the Africa Health Tech Summit (AHTS) illuminated a path towards a future where digital health is not just a buzzword but a reality. This gathering of minds, innovators, and visionaries reaffirmed the untapped potential of the African continent in the realm of digital health technology.

The heart of the summit was undoubtedly the panel discussions. These sessions were informative, educational, and thought-provoking. Leading experts, entrepreneurs, and healthcare professionals shared their insights, experiences, and visions for the future of digital health in Africa. From AI-driven diagnostic tools to telemedicine solutions that bridge the gap between urban and rural healthcare, the discussions underscored the incredible potential of digital health technologies on the continent.

In particular, the youth panels were an inspiring highlight. Young minds, with their inherent adaptability to technology, discussed their pivotal role in shaping the future of digital health. They explored how to collaborate to build a youth digital network that drives innovation and change. Their fresh perspectives, energy, and digital savviness are invaluable assets in addressing the healthcare challenges that the continent faces.

The power of the summit extended beyond the panels and workshops. It was in the corridors, over coffee breaks, and during evening receptions where real connections were made. The Ministerial breakfast meeting was one of such spaces where futuristic insights were shared.  The right people were in the right room, discussing the most important things. Entrepreneurs connected with investors, healthcare providers exchanged ideas with tech innovators, and government representatives explored collaborations with private sector players. The synergies created in these moments have the potential to drive the digital health sector forward in Africa.

Take Home – A Glimpse of the Future

From the Africa Health Tech Summit in Kigali, we carry with us a glimpse of the future: a future where digital health technologies have the power to revolutionize healthcare across the African continent. The insights gained from the panels, the connections made through networking, and the energy of the youth summit are all building blocks towards realizing this future.

Opportunities – The Road Ahead

The summit unveiled a plethora of opportunities. It’s evident that Africa has the talent, ambition, and innovation to lead the way in the digital health sector. Investors are eager to support promising ventures, and governments are keen to collaborate. The road ahead may have challenges, but it’s also laden with opportunities for those willing to take the leap.

In conclusion, the Africa Health Tech Summit in Kigali was a testament that the future of digital health is young, vibrant, and African. The journey may seem to have just begun, but the potential for digital transformative change in healthcare across the continent is palpable. As we move forward, let us be guided by the insights gained, the connections formed, and the opportunities that await us on this remarkable journey.”

Written by Dr. Moses Ochora, Co-founder, Photo-Kabada Limited (www.photokabada.com)