How can we keep up with digital health’s fast paced growth?

This piece originally ran on PR Newswire.

Microsoft ADC, PSI and AMREF Health Africa team up to train the next generation of digital health experts.

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 18, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Digital health is developing quicker than the training to keep those working in health and those developing the technology used in health to stay up to date.

How do we keep up with digital health’s fast paced growth?

For one, leverage the expertise and market knowledge of those working in the space.

That’s why, Microsoft Africa Development Centre (ADC), Population Services International (PSI) and AMREF Health Africa partnered for season four of Game of Learners, a five-week hackathon that convened 80+ students from 11 African countries to develop technology solutions that make it easier for people to access primary healthcare.

Across Africa, healthcare systems face many challenges that limits people’s ability to choose quality care. That includes inadequate health infrastructure, shortage of health care personnel, limited access to essential medicine, low health literacy and poor health seeking behavior.

Increasing access to affordable digital technology can address these challenges.

“Through the competition, we can obtain what we hope will be a creative solution to long-standing healthcare challenges and assist [participants] in learning more about how to use technology for good,” said Ruth Ferland, Regional Head of Student and Community Engagement, Microsoft ADC.

Together, Microsoft, AMREF Health Africa and PSI provided participants with training on:

  • Challenges in the health system
  • Principles for digital development
  • Using insights to advance user-centered design
  • Customer acquisition for digital health solutions
  • Health financing

The winning solution: Team Ruby’s “Jambo Care,” a digital solution that translates local dialects into English or Kiswahili to make it easier for doctors to diagnose patients’ symptoms remotely.

“Game of Learners represents an important milestone in a broader capacity strengthening initiative,” said Wycliffe Waweru, Head of Monitoring at PSI. “There are many innovative thinkers graduating from learning institutions across Africa. We’re looking to harness their skills to create home-grown digital health solutions.”

As the hackathon underscored: collaboration between healthcare professionals, innovators and educational organizations can lead to a more coordinated and integrated approach to healthcare innovation, investment, and delivery. It facilitates the sharing of expertise, resources, and best practices, resulting in better outcomes for people everywhere.

“The rapid evolution of the digital health market requires us to step up in how we shape the healthcare workforce, particularly at the primary healthcare level, where community health workers play a vital role,” said Kitawa Wemo, Innovations Lead at AMREF Health. “Investing in collaborative innovation programs, such as the Game of Learners Hackathon, is integral to equip healthcare professionals with the skills and knowledge to design, develop, and implement effective digital health solutions that meet the needs of local communities and accelerate progress toward equitable and accessible healthcare for all.”

To explore partnering together, email [email protected].


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