Youth use digital health technologies share experiences

Youth use digital health technologies share experiences

On October 19, young leaders and representatives of organisations working in the field of digital health gathered in Kigali to talk about the necessity of enhancing youth representation in the field and to share their creative solutions.

The session was titled “Youth In Digital Health Network: Empowering Africa’s Youth in Digital Health” and was part of Mobile World Congress Kigali’s Health Tech Summit.

The 2021 State of Healthcare Report by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), a global advisor committed to reforming the global health ecosystem through the power of information and technology, indicates that a minimum of 70 percent of the youth population actively engages with various telehealth tools.

Setian Lucy, the Director of Digital Transformation at the Novartis Foundation, devoted to enhancing the health and well-being of underserved populations worldwide, brought attention to the relatively small presence of the health technology sector in Africa in comparison to other industries like FinTech and Agritech and questioned whether it could be changed.

She emphasized the importance of nurturing innovators, not just in terms of starting companies but also in innovating policies, governments, and healthcare systems.

Lucy highlighted the HealthTech of Africa initiative, a Novartis Foundation project, in which they made significant progress in supporting start-ups and scale-ups from 17 African countries, creating jobs, benefiting millions of people, and raising substantial funding.

Sharing her experience to inspire fellow youth, Nura Izath, the Founder and CEO of Neosave Technologies, a Uganda-based digital health start-up noted that one doesn’t have to be a tech person to be part of the innovation journey.

She said that they can collaborate from various backgrounds.

Her inspiration to start the company came from a personal experience of caring for a new-born while juggling house chores. She said that the experience made her conceive the idea of a device to help mothers monitor their babies remotely.

Her sister later told her that it would be more useful in a hospital setting with limited health workers, which motivated her to form a team and start working on the innovation.

Izath said that they conducted an end-user survey at Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital’s pediatric ward, where they found overwhelming support for their idea, given that overworked nurses expressed the need for better monitoring of new-borns to provide timely care.

Izath and her team delved into the literature, confirming that hypothermia was a widespread problem, hence developing a hardware device, an auto thermal bracelet with a temperature sensor to continuously monitor new-borns.

Using technology, Izath said that the temperature measurements were transmitted to a central display screen, allowing health workers to monitor and prioritize care.

“Emojis on the screen signalled the urgency of care required, involving not only health workers but also parents and caregivers. The goal of our innovation was to improve the lives of new-borns and ease the workload of healthcare workers,” she said.

Dr. Moses Ochora, Co-founder and Project Lead of Photo-Kabada, also highlighted his journey as an innovator, which began in late 2018, as well as his interactions with various institutions. Ochora discussed how he realized the challenges of treating sick children and the need for innovative solutions. His team developed a device called Photo-Kabada which monitors multiple babies’ vitals and assists the ones in need. Photo-Kabada is a hybrid remotely monitored phototherapy machine that is able to monitor and treat multiple babies with Jaundice simultaneously.

Despite facing challenges and setbacks, Ochora said that they progressed to clinical trials and gained support from partners, including Speak Up Africa, strategic communication and advocacy organization dedicated to catalysing leadership, enabling policy change, and increasing awareness for sustainable development in Africa.





Johnson NDEKEZI is a Journalist covering all topics in the Entertainment World as well as Political and current Affairs.

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