Globally, countries are working progressively to improve the health of their populations by working towards the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. Digital Health Interventions have been touted as an enabler to achieving the SDG goal 3 which is to ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all. In a number of ways, the increasing use of digital health has made healthcare more efficient, effective and affordable.
Digital health has revolutionized the healthcare landscape globally with an estimated 50% of mobile phone users worldwide using health related apps in 2018. Digital health interventions such as telemedicine, electronic medical records and wireless health devices have consistently been shown to have immense benefits for remote patients and the general population.
Sub-Saharan Africa has become an emerging powerhouse of digital health interventions and innovations with rapid expansion and evolution over the last few years. While success stories abound in digital health implementations in the region, there is an abundance of pilots and solutions that may not be sustained after donor support diminishes. There is the need to focus on sustainability to ensure gains made in improved health outcomes due to the interventions are not lost. There should be an opportunity for projects and countries to share success stories and learnings of effective implementations that have proven to be sustainable.
In Africa, there is a dearth of knowledge on scalable digital health solutions and how the growth to scale was achieved and sustained. Imaging informatics is another pillar of digital health which have matured significantly over the last few years. With the improvement in network infrastructure and Internet speeds these solutions have changed how medical images are interpreted and shared. The advances in Artificial Intelligence (AI) in this area are also significant. HELINA 2023 will introduce a dedicated imaging informatics stream to provide opportunities to share research, learn, and collaborate on the role of imaging informatics in Africa.