By Charles Ndushabandi;
World Leaders at the prestigious World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, an event co-hosted by GAVI and the Ministry of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Economy of Nigeria in collaboration with Zipline have advocated for the adoption of technology to tackle healthcare challenges in Africa.
The gathering convened prominent individuals from the healthcare industry, academia, and government to explore and monitor issues driving transformational change across economies, and industries around the world.
Honorable Bosun Tijani, the Minister of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Economy of Nigeria, passionately advocated for a sweeping technological transformation to address critical healthcare issues in Africa.
Hon. Tijani emphasized the urgent need to empower governments to harness available technologies and increase investment in connecting and empowering people with access to information. He stressed the importance of fostering ecosystems that can support and scale innovation to tackle Africa’s challenges effectively. He cited Rwanda as a prime example where government-led initiatives and supportive ecosystems have driven successful innovation to address various issues in the country.
One of the key issues highlighted during the event was the pressing need for improved connectivity in many regions. Despite the presence of various facilities, inadequate connectivity has hindered development potential. Hon. Tijani emphasized the importance of creating ecosystems that facilitate development and ensure that necessary infrastructure supports investments.
The adoption of health technologies was underscored by Zipline’s recent introduction of drone technology for distributing essential medical supplies to healthcare facilities in Nigeria. Several states, including Kaduna, Cross River, and Bayelsa, have partnered with Zipline to efficiently transport essential medical products, including vaccines, blood, and medicines, to remote communities.
Zipline’s drones cover distances of about 3 hours by road in less than 35 minutes, significantly improving the quality of care, patient outcomes, and healthcare providers’ satisfaction. This success has led many governments to consider Zipline technology as a vital component of the aerial logistics ecosystem, simplifying the delivery of essential medical supplies.
Hon. Tijani commended investments like those made by Zipline, recognizing them as catalysts for technological advancement and development. He emphasized the need to invest in essential infrastructure and create supportive ecosystems, enabling Africa to effectively address its challenges and accelerate its development.
The event, themed ‘Innovation at Scale: Ensuring Health and Prosperity,’ featured discussions by key figures who shared their insights on leveraging technology and innovation to address Africa’s challenges. Contributors emphasized the growing consensus on the crucial role of technology and innovation in addressing Africa’s challenges, fostering health, and promoting prosperity. Collaborative efforts, empowering governments, and prioritizing healthcare and vaccine development investments were highlighted as key drivers of positive change across the continent.