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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Ghana to leverage mobile health Africa

Ghana is planning to leverage on Mobile Health Africa summit to boost its health services to the citizens, through an event being organised by the Mobile World magazine and Anadach Group, based in the United States.

Chief executive officer, Mobile World, Mr. Akin Napthal said in a press statement made available to ITRealms Online that Africa is seeking better health solutions through mobile technologies.

The event slated for December this year, he said, would be a gathering of African’s best brains in adoption of technologies for mobile health services.

He said that global mobile communication and health experts are set to meet in Ghana to debate on appropriate and timely solutions for Africa’s pressing health challenges.

He also said that delegates are expected from across Africa, Europe, North America, Asia and the Middle East.

Mr. Napthal, who doubles as the conference co-director, hinted that it would to take place between December 2 and 3, at the Labadi Hotel, in Accra.

“This summit will explore the use of mobile technologies to improve access to quality health care, particularly in underserved populations; and in health research, training, and education
applications in Africa,” he said.

Mobile phones, he said, have the ability to revolutionize several components of the health delivery system, including collecting clinical and community health data, monitoring patient vital signs in real-time, augmenting the direct provision of care by linking health care workers to patients, delivering healthcare information to practitioners, researchers, and patients as well as addressing supply chain management problems.

Equally, he said, Mobile phones could play a significant role in health financing systems, including authentication of health insurance subscribers, monitoring of health benefits and paying for health services and products.

He underscored the fact that mHealth Africa summit presents an opportunity to bring together interested parties from around the world working in the health care and associated sectors to exchange ideas, discuss innovative solutions, explore scalability and sustainability of successful pilots, and develop collaborations in Africa.

Founding partner Anadach Group, Dr. Egbe Osifo-Dawodu, urged stakeholders to jointly channel key implementation of mHealth deployment in Africa.

The conference, he said, would become an annual event to come at a time when mobile penetration rates on the African continent are rising at a high rate.

In 2009, he noted that Africa was estimated to have more than 379 million mobile phone users compared to 246 million in 2008.

“It is the precise time to put more focus on the growth of mHealth in Africa. With that fact mobile is perhaps the fastest and cost effective and interactive way to reach the rural areas in term of health delivery,” he said.

For health and ICT entrepreneurs, the new platform creates an opportunity to develop innovative ideas that address existing problems or create new solutions to improve healthcare.

“Most African countries are not on track to meet the UN’s Millennium Development Goals so the need for innovation has never been greater,” Dr. Alade, the conference co-director asserted.

He further said, this summit poses a great opportunity in discussing and learning more on the future of mhealth in Africa. Through the forum, mobile and health experts will review the mHealth opportunities and challenges in Africa. In addition, experts will discuss and understand the role regulators in developing mHealth on the continent drawing comparisons with the developed world.

“This is an opportunity for participants to gain insight into case studies of various mhealth deployments and initiatives, deeper understanding on the business model of mhealth, networking,” Mr. Napthal added.

Speakers at the conference, he said, would include Prof. Peter Nyongo, the Kenya Minister for Medical Services who will also be the special guest, Brooke Partridge, CEO and founder, Vital Wave Consulting, USA, Bas Hoefman, Founder and Director, Text to Change, Holland Dr Ashifi Gogo, Sproxil, Nigeria, Mr. Tunde Fafunwa, Senior Partner Kitskoo, Phillipines, Mr. Piers Bocock, Senior Director, Management Sciences for Health, USA,, Ruchi Dass, Wireless Healthcare, E-health and Healthcare IT Champion, Bright Simons, CEO, mPedigree, Ghana among others.

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