The COVID-19 outbreak has now spread to 52 countries in Africa. Due to fragile health systems, Africa is at risk to be hit hardest by the outbreak. The poor and most vulnerable people on the continent are the least prepared to adopt preventive measures to limit the spread of the outbreak. Meanwhile, other patients are at risk: we are already observing that patients with other health conditions are afraid to visit hospitals due to the fear of getting infected. International, collective actions is critical to help reduce the spread of the virus, save lives and minimize social and economic impacts.
For African countries to avoid the devastation, early detection, effective surveillance, and quick response are critical. Strong data-driven health systems are the most effective way to respond to the outbreak. The rise of mobile technology and digital platforms in Africa offers the opportunity to deliver all stakeholders the much-needed insights in the spread of the epidemic and the impact of preventive measures. It also offers a great way to communicate directly with its citizens, as verified information at a time of fake news, is critical to the COVID response.
PharmAccess focuses on leveraging data and technology to strengthen African health systems to finance and deliver better healthcare. We are actively seeking partnerships to join forces in these uncertain times, as cooperation is key to fighting this pandemic.
Our COVID-19 response evolves around three pillars:
Preparing healthcare staff and facilities for COVID-19
SafeCare works with healthcare providers to improve their quality with an emphasis on patient safety and infection control. Experts share their knowledge on COVID-19 through webinars, trainings and downloadable resources. Medical Credit Fund assists private healthcare providers with flexible and digital lending solutions. We extend emergency loans to healthcare providers to cope with the crisis.
Working with local governments to strengthen surveillance, monitoring and diagnostics
With CarePay and the Amsterdam Institute for Global Health and Development, we use M-TIBA platform data from over 2,500 Kenyan healthcare providers to support the government with dashboards and insights to help them prepare for, and monitor the pandemic. The platform also informs residents of Kisumu county, Kenya, on COVID-19 health issues. Last, we advise national and state technical teams on Covid-19 in Ghana, Tanzania and Nigeria.
Digital solutions to empower individuals and patients
We are collaborating with Luscii, a Netherlands technology company working with OLVG on Covid-19, in implementing a Corona digital app and service (CovidConnect) in Ghana and Kenya. This technology enables individuals to assess their risks of getting Covid-19 and to receive support and relevant care. Access to real time data allows continuous monitoring for potential outbreaks. CovidConnect is launched in collaboration with CarePay and the University of Ghana Medical Centre.