Informa Markets focuses on Africa’s digital health

The international healthcare community sits at a critical juncture, particularly with the COVID-19 pandemic placing a spotlight on some of the industry’s biggest resource challenges.

According to Wouter Molman, Executive Vice President for Informa Markets – Healthcare, the pressures placed on Africa’s healthcare systems over the last six months have led to a stronger call for innovative technological and digital solutions to support better patient management, universal access and disease prevention.

Omnia Health Live Africa, a free-to-attend virtual event from 12-16 October 2020, will address human, infrastructural and policy challenges and opportunities relating to the adoption of these digital health technologies in Africa.

The largest virtual healthcare tradeshow of its kind in Africa, brought by Informa Markets, the five-day event will unite some of the most innovative and knowledgeable minds from African healthcare communities, allowing attendees to keep up to date on the latest developments shaping the African healthcare industry.

Technologies such as the Internet of Things, wearables, and sensors are opening up possibilities for easier monitoring of individuals’ health in remote areas.

According to reports, more than 400m people live on the continent with little or no access to healthcare. Half of this population lives in rural areas, but only one-quarter of doctors in Africa are deployed there.

Big data and telemedicine are also gaining widespread adoption across Africa. Recently, the Health Professions Council of South Africa amended its guidelines for telemedicine.

For instance, wider adoption of telemedicine turned out to be an asset for countries such as Nigeria where, according to the World Health Organisation, there are only four doctors per 10,000 patients, or South Africa where reportedly at least 80 per cent of the population does not have direct access to professional healthcare advice because they either cannot afford it or live in rural areas without medical facilities.

Artificial intelligence is also a radical game-changer, offering tremendous promise in transforming healthcare in Africa. It acts as a viable tool for tackling health challenges, reducing costs, and improving health access and quality.

A worldwide shortage of healthcare workers, particularly serious in many African countries, is predicted to reach 18m by 2030.

This increases the case for investment in AI tools, which can help nurses and community health workers diagnose and treat illnesses typically seen by doctors.

Molman said, “Attendees will learn how to apply AI in a health maturity framework, while a panel discussion in collaboration with the Novartis Foundation will address telemedicine opportunities and challenges in Africa from a policy and regulatory perspective.”

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