By Franklin Mtambalika
Stakeholders in the health sector have warned failure to invest in digital health will dilute Malawi’s efforts towards achieving Universal Health Coverage.
Health rights activists and experts observe that many curable diseases continue to be a huge burden due to lack of advanced digital health equipment to compliment human expertise in prevention, diagnosis and treatment among others.
However, despite acknowledging the break-through technology has made in health, government says there is need for collaboration among stakeholders to achieve common goal of improved health service delivery.
In November this year minister of health Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda launched the 2020-2025 National Digital Health Strategy with a commitment to improve the flow and absorption of information to support delivery and management of healthcare services.
The five year strategic plan comes as a response to increased demands on healthcare systems which the minister said was an immediate call for swift change to adapt to systems in the organization and management of health services to integrate digital solutions that support timely and accurate decisions.
While commending the development, the Journalists against Aids (Journal AIDS) says it is sad to note that the country continues to lose lives due to lack of advanced digital health diagnosis equipment.
Its programs manager Dingani Mithi says poor health service delivery is costing the country a lot of money as patients who have critical conditions are usually referred to other countries for medical help.
Mithi also took a swipe at institutions of higher learning for not doing enough in research on the impact of digital health tools.
He said research from the academia is important in policy formulation, direction and resource mobilization from donors.
Mithi was speaking on Thursday at a national dialogue session on harnessing artificial intelligence and digital health for the healthcare system, in achieving universal health coverage in Malawi held in the capital Lilongwe.
Artificial intelligence also known as AI, which is the use of computers to do work designed to be carried out by humans, is a very important development in the health sector in the areas of supply of medicines and medical supplies, data analysis, collection and storage of data.
No wonder the Central Medical Stores Trust is very much interested to see to it that the new revolution is adopted as soon as possible to help in its service delivery
Journalists against Aids with support from the National Commission for Science and Technology through a Small Grant Scheme held the national dialogue to build public engagement on artificial intelligence and digital health.