Investment into Health in Africa: Part Two

by Developed Africa 2. October 2013 09:00

Following the previous post, we look into the growing importance new technologies will have in African healthcare and reaching the hard to reach

There is another area of potential that needs exploring in healthcare, and that is technology. As technologies develop it will become easier to ensure widespread healthcare even into the most rural areas of African countries. Linked to a recent post of ours about mobile technology in Africa, it would appear that there is a lot that mobiles can do in terms of improving healthcare too.

Many reports have heralded the use of mobile phones to better consolidate and gather the information and statistics about different diseases, illnesses and health incidents. An article from MIT Technology Review, expands upon this:

For the first time we are seeing good quality data that can tell us who is dying and from what, who is sick, and where clusteres of diseases are occuring"

On a staffing and supply level, there is evidence of mobile technology being used to improve the stock and supply of vaccines and medicines.

By allowing real-time data of stock levels in remote facilities to filter back up the chain, it is possible to prevent unnecessary stock-outs and ensure that vaccines are available when infants and children are brought in to be immunised" 

They can also be used to update patients on appointments, for medical staff to look up records and for updates on when vaccines are available. These all may seem like very small advantages, but they could make a great change to healthcare in Africa, making the process of seeing and organising patients so much smoother is a big move. 

Mobile technology could start to allow people living in rural areas to get better access to healthcare than ever before, and without the long tortuous journeys, an article from the BBC News, depicts the changes mobile use can bring to health services. Not only does it talk of the uses already metioned above, but it also highlights the importance this is going to have in the livelihoods of rural African people. 

Amref- the African Medical and Research Foundation- is using computers and the internet to let local healthcare professionals consult urban experts"

By doing this, it means that people can go to their local professional, who is a lot closer than expert help, but still receive the same advice and proper treatment as local professionals will be able to get their advice easily from experts in urban areas. However, there are of course flaws in these plans, as this system is heavily reliant on electricity and internet access. So it is important that energy and internet schemes are also invested in thoroughly in order to support the health sector.

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