Opportunities abound for mHealth in Africa - CNBC Africa

Opportunities abound for mHealth in Africa


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Africa presents an interesting opportunity for mobile health. PHOTO: TechHealth Perspectives

This is according to Doctor Harry Greenspun, a director at the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions, who believes that healthcare in Africa could follow suit behind the continent’s unique adaptation to telecommunications technology.

(READ MORE: The changing face of Africa's healthcare sector)

“Africa presents a really interesting opportunity for mobile health which is different from other parts of the world. If you look at some of the more developed countries in the world, the opportunity in Africa is really around using mHealth as the basis for healthcare infrastructure,” Greenspun told CNBCafrica.com.

“In healthcare, as countries develop more sophisticated healthcare delivery systems, they’re not going to model it on the old-fashioned bricks and mortar type-of healthcare system. They’re going to be using technology in order to provide better access, better quality, better safety at a lower cost.”


Greenspun also stated that an increased use of mobile healthcare solutions would be able to service those who live in inaccessible areas.

“If you think about the way healthcare’s traditionally delivered, you need facilities, you need trained people, as opposed to a lot of the ways healthcare is delivered in Africa, where it is often delivered in the homes and in the community,” he said.

“The spread and adoption of mobile devices opens the door to use these as the healthcare infrastructure, to bring better information to individuals, provide specialist care, remote monitoring to do remote diagnosis. [By] connecting people via phones, you can create infrastructure.”


He added that as a result of this need, there is a lot of innovation in the use of mobile and other devices to provide a higher level of care and emphasised the need to provide healthcare solutions in the safest and most secure way possible.

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“There’s always a concern about privacy and security so establishing trust is going to be very important. It has to be done in a safe way with the right safeguards or training. You have to match the level of care with the ability for the people on the other end to be able to take advantage of it,” he explained.

“There is a lot of interest in mobile health in Africa because people recognise that it’s going to be important for public health. The important thing for people to understand is there are differences between how mobile gets deployed in the industrialised world versus the opportunity to improve healthcare in the developing world.”