Sub-Saharan Africa accounts for 13% of the world’s population, yet bears 24% of the global disease burden and has only 2% of the world’s doctors. The grim health situation is the result of a crisis in healthcare investments in the continent; with only 1% of the world’s health expenditure being used in sub-Saharan Africa.
It is estimated that $25–$30 billion in new investment will be needed in healthcare assets only, to meet the growing healthcare demands of sub-Saharan Africa. But there is one area of healthcare investments which has been less explored, which is the role digital solutions can have in boosting healthcare access in Africa.
Many countries in sub-Saharan Africa have already achieved a high level of mobile penetration (85%) and internet penetration is also on the rise – mobile devices have become increasingly common and have been adopted in some countries in sub-Saharan Africa as a force for delivering better healthcare. South Africans are already being exposed to the digital health age by the increasing take-up of standalone mobile health (devices via increasing use of smartphones among clinicians and patients). The South African messaging platform MomConnect (a mobile messaging platform) saw 465,703 users adopt the service, demonstrating increasing maturity of digital participation.
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