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Health Tech: AfICTF advocates for tech interventions in Healthcare

…Tasks SMES on adaptive COVID-19 business strategies

By Juliet Umeh

To tackle of Covid-19 pandemic, the African ICT Foundation, AfICTf, is seeking for information technology intervention especially as countries are gradually locking down protocols.

It also tasks start-ups on the need to define strategies that are adaptable to current realities and at the same time establish guidelines for the post COVID-19 period.

In a webinar hosted by the foundation on ‘Post COVID-19 Recovery Map for Africa’s MSMES’, a member of the Board of Trustee, BOT, Mr. Oludare Akinbo while speaking on the “Impact of COVID-19 on the African Health Sector and the way Forward”, stressed the need to encourage investors and other private donors to invest in health infrastructures in Africa.

According to him, the COVID-19 has created impact on the African health sector affecting health workers, the average Africans, infrastructure and finance as well as the patients.

Akinbo noted that there is already increased cost of care and heightened risk in the health sectors across countries in the continent noting that the sector needs infrastructure and financing.

While expressing concern about the heavy toll on healthcare providers as well as the increased cost of care and risk to health, Akinbo called for improved and collaborative healthcare financing including increased Investment on infrastructure and basic healthcare.

He disclosed that the pandemic has exposed the need for Pro Active Healthcare System and the need for good PHC in Africa.

Also speaking at the webinar, Second Vice President, African ICT Foundation, Racheal Orumor in a presentation, ‘Beyond COVID-19: African Startups Persistence Strategy’, urged startups to note that cessation of activities has been worrisome for most promoters, and they are unwilling to keep up with investment.

According to her, startups are facing many difficulties due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and that the crisis period is widening with its duration still indefinite.

To survive this period, she suggested for startups, a collaborative work and social interaction as key elements for the development of innovative ideas.

Orumor observed that the COVID-19 pandemic has reduced team efficiency for start-ups, and that the crisis has made in-presence collaborative work to be suppressed or reduced while most non-tech startups are now faced with the decision of choosing the adequate and cost efficient soft tool.

She further noted that for start-ups, customer engagement is dropping, particularly in Africa were most of them depend on in-presence engagement with their potential customers and clients.

While describing the drop in customer engagement as a setback caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, she also noted that for start-ups business, digital identity is still a challenge in Africa since trustworthiness is mostly established via physical contact.

Orumor who is also the Startup Innovation Consultant at the International Francophone Organisation and Chief Executive Officer of Soft Digital, Republic of Benin, disclosed that the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic is creating new needs and forcing consumers to favour certain types of services over others.

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