Nowhere is better positioned to benefit from the digital revolution in healthcare than Africa, where technology can help tackle the rising burden of disease and major obstacles in infrastructure and the environment. However, realizing the promise of digital healthcare technology, while avoiding its potential pitfalls, will require a comprehensive, systematic approach based on the principles of sustainability, equity and inclusion.

Africa’s public health challenges are well known. While recent decades have seen major progress in the treatment of diseases such as HIV/AIDS and malaria, the continent suffers from a disproportionate disease burden and rising incidence of chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and sickle cell anemia. Infrastructure presents its own problems: less than half the population of sub-Saharan Africa has access to electricity, and road density in the region has actually declined over the last two decades.

Digital technology holds enormous potential to bridge the gaps in healthcare provision by directing limited medical resources where they are most needed. To this end, global, national and local stakeholders should focus on six interconnected solutions, which together will help ensure equitable access to medical innovation throughout Africa.

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