Awardees talk Transformative Tech on BBC’s Accelerating Health Podcast

31 January 2022.
By the Award program team

The Africa Young Innovators for Health Award winners Conrad Tankou, CEO, GIC Space (Cameroon); and Imodoye Abioro, CEO, Healthbotics (Nigeria), discuss the future of technology in healthcare on the Accelerating Health Podcast produced by BBC StoryWorks.

As part of a 7-part series focused on everything from the gender dynamics of healthcare and economics to the technological and creative transformations of health systems, the Award winners add their voice to conversations focused on improving healthcare for communities at risk of non-communicable diseases.

In Africa alone, the World Health Organisation asserts that the burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) is increasing and set to overtake the burden of mortality and morbidity from communicable, maternal, neonatal, and nutritional diseases by 2030.

The surge is related to the increasing incidence of cardiovascular risk factors such as unhealthy diets, reduced physical activity, hypertension, obesity, diabetes, and air pollution.

Expanding access to critical healthcare by investing in technology is vital in the right direction. Young African innovators are developing solutions to improve service quality while ensuring access to affordable essential medicines and diagnostic materials.

To bring services closer to more people who need them, Conrad Tankou developed GICMED, a proprietary technology to facilitate early screening and diagnosis of breast and cervical cancer in Cameroun’s most remote and peri-urban areas. On the other hand, Imodoye Abioro is utilizing artificial intelligence and machine learning through his Mediverse innovation to increase the service efficiency of the African doctor while ensuring health systems can spot early warning signs of disease burdens more accurately.

However, as helpful as technology is, it does not solve problems independently. It is only as good as its implementation. Innovators need to consider a wide range of factors from geographical terrain to internet access, data availability, and even citizen trust as they incorporate technology into Africa’s health systems. And Africa’s healthcare infrastructure challenges can prove to be a roadblock in the successful utilization of these technology solutions.

The big question remains: What have we done, and what opportunities lie ahead? Tune into the Accelerating Health podcast as game-changing innovators highlight the potential – and the pitfalls – of integrating healthcare technology into countries across Africa.

Listen to Season 2 Episode 2 here.

About the Accelerating Health Podcast.

The Accelerating Health podcast was brought to you by Access Accelerated and produced by BBC StoryWorks. Accelerating Health takes a deep dive into the projects, policies, and investments supporting and building back resilient health systems.