The annual ICT4D Conferences have proven to be an invaluable opportunity for NGOs, private sector organizations, universities, governmental agencies and foundations to share their experience in using ICT to increase the impact of development programs and to learn from each other. In 2016, 750 individuals from 76 countries and 320 private sector and public sector and civil society explored the ways to harness the full power of digital solutions to achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. Our thanks to Accenture, Catholic Relief Services, Esri, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, iMerit Technology Services, Inmarsat, IS Solutions, Making All Voices Count, Mercy Corps, Microsoft, NetHope, Oxfam, Pandexio, Qualcom Wireless Reach, RTI International, SimbaNet and World Vision for making that possible.
Uniformly, actors in the health sector identify technology innovation and the increasing penetration of mobile phones as a trend that will influence East Africa's health sector. There are exciting technology trends evolving across East Africa that could potentially affect the health sector. Some of these trends include low cost diagnostic devices, wearable technologies, tele-medicine and widespread adoption of Electronic Medical Record systems (EMRs).
There are changes in technology that support innovation in these areas such as increasing penetration of smartphones that have capability to be monitoring devices as well as house health applications; the rollout of 4G mobile networks across East Africa that offer high speed mobile data; faster internet through broadband connections and reducing cost of hardware components.
Yet, while the health sector in East Africa could potentially benefit from digital innovation in a similar way to financial services, agriculture and renewable energy sectors, this is not happening.
This seeming disconnect between the health and IT sectors in East Africa, based on our research, led the SEAD East Africa team to conceptualize and host Kenya's first health hackathon in September 2015. The hackathon was designed to provide a space for collaborative creative problem solving around critical needs in the healthcare sector. The goal of the event was to creatively facilitate connections between health entrepreneurs and the technology community in East Africa so that both groups could better understand the market opportunity in the healthcare technology space.
This presentation seeks to share the key insights from the SEAD Health Hackathon, demonstrate the market potential in digital health and spur discussion on how to better leverage ICT in the health sector.