Tanzania: Health Experts Call for Innovations to Tackle Covid

SEVERAL health experts have called for health innovations that would bring new ways of provision of health services, such as telemedicine, during this time of Covid-19 pandemic to avoid physical contact.

The experts said African countries needed to embrace telemedicine as a way of changing approach in health services in response to the pandemic.

They were speaking during a virtual meeting entitled, "the Future of Health: Innovation on the Home Front," held recently. Co-founder and Director of Rocket Health Africa, Dr John Bwanika, said that the pandemic has further brought the need to have African health innovators for building health systems based on their local contexts.

She said telemedicine will to a great extent reduce and avoid risk of infection through contact.

Apart from that, countries must build the internal capacity of their health systems to reduce dependency on foreign support.

"One of the big lessons shared is the need to embrace digital health (telemedicine) to reduce possibilities of infections. Also to reduce time wastage while going to hospital and back home" he said.

The founder noted that another challenge was shortage of equipment and medicines.

"It is crucial that we redefine what is essential and define what the future of healthcare in Africa looks like," he added.

Furthermore, Dr Bwanika said that African countries must build their internal capacity to overcome pandemics. He said the experience had shown that during the first wave, there was shortage of protective gears such as face masks and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in hospitals. For her part, the Deputy Director of Research, Aswani Heart Centre, Yasmine Aquib said it was time to design research to serve the needy. She said African countries must develop a way of testing and accessibility of kits packages.

"The pandemic has totally changed people's life systems. Therefore, it was a time for innovators and researchers to come up with new approaches that can fully embrace technology," she said.

The 2021 Future Summit is hosted by Segal Family Foundation and BMW Foundation of change across the African continent. "The Future Summit is a space for people to use their gifted talents, commitment and passion to create a better world," explained Dedo Baranshamaje, Segal Family Foundation's Director of Strategy-Africa.

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