The ESN participated in the 7th Geneva Health Forum by moderating a workshop on new technologies and financing health in Africa.
New technologies have become an essential medium for health systems of developed and developing countries. Widely used and accepted (7 billion mobile phone subscriptions including 70% in low or middle-income countries, according to a study of the International Telecommunication Union published in 2015), the new technologies represent a major focus for the implementation and expansion of universal health coverage in Africa. The African governments and other actors financing health can see many opportunities there: efficiency, access, cost reduction and control, data collection and management, medical check-ups, prevention, relationships with care providers, etc.
As stakeholders in the operation to expand universal health coverage, African healthcare mutuals are participating in this technological movement. More and more of them are developing innovative solutions to increase the penetration rate and improve their management and services particularly in the informal economy where the coverage rate of the population is the lowest.
Several speakers presented very practical experiences of the use of new technologies:
- Juliette Compaore, Executive Secretary of the Burkina Faso NGO ASMADE spoke about Here, an electronic registration and contributions collection system for mutual health insurance companies
- Guy Roland Ouédraogo, responsible for communication at PASS, based in Côte d’Ivoire spoke about the issues of innovations related to digitalisation for mutual health insurance companies
- Priya Shah, Director of M-TIBA in Kenya which is a mobile service that allows anybody to send and spend an amount of money specifically for medical treatment
- Tessa Oraro of the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute spoke about the use of technology to expand UHC in Kenya with a focus on the determining factors of voluntary membership to the national health insurance system
The workshop was jointly organised by Willy Tadjudje of Louvain University.