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)
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.
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.
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)