Digital Health in Africa: Implementation Guide published by German Federal Government

In recent months, empirica Communication & Technology Research Institute in Bonn, Germany, developed a Guide on a “Digital Health Ecosystem for African countries”. It provides for well-grounded, experience-based yet succinct instructions for public and private actors when establishing holistic Digital Health Ecosystems. The work was commissioned by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit – GIZ (German Corporation for International Cooperation) and the Strategische Partnerschaft Digitales Afrika (Strategic Partnership Digital Africa [LINK]). The study presents a framework and actionable approach for national or district Digital Health Ecosystems based on an open platform infrastructure. This implementation guide constructively supports and facilitates the development of digital health ecosystems in districts, countries and regions of Africa and beyond.

The German Federal Government, through its Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, has demonstrated a growing political as well as financial involvement in harnessing digital solutions for Africa’s development. It strongly supports the vision and activities of the Strategic Partnership Digital Africa (SPDA). Through this partnership the German Development Agency GIZ has joined forces with the private sector to support the development and sustainable management of Digital Africa’s potential.
One of six thematic expert groups of the SPDA concerns digital health systems. Its goal is to analyse framework conditions, requirements and options for the successful, sustainable implementation of Digital Health Ecosystems, and to provide an action-oriented framework for long-term commitment and investments in digital infrastructures and services towards improvement of health services in African countries. Partners are German companies with expertise in digital health systems and applications on the one side, and decision makers, health system operators and industry in African countries on the other. The SPDA identified the fragmentation and multitude of siloed digital health applications as a key challenge for realising nationally integrated, interoperable ecosystems.

The Guide was developed and written by Prof. Dr. Karl A. Stroetmann, Senior Research Associate with empirica GmbH, and his colleagues at empirica, GIZ and SPDA. He was Principal Investigator and consultant of work for the European Space Agency on eHealth Interoperability and Regulatory Challenges for Sub-Sahara Africa, and has consulted WHO, OECD, global industrial players and national/regional governments respectively their health authorities. Karl regularly presents at global Digital Health conferences and workshops.

The guide has been made availalbe here.