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Watch: the Great Escape: digital disruption for social equity

Africa is at a crossroads. Mobile technology is disrupting every layer of society at an unprecedented pace. “The biggest social equalizer now in this part of the world, I believe is a cell phone,” explains Dr. Khama Rogo, Head of Health in Africa Initiative, IFC/World Bank Group in the documentary titled The Great Escape. The documentary was made for the Joep Lange Institute.

  • Dec 20, 2017

Almost everyone, over 90%, has access to a mobile phone, even people living in the slums or in remote areas. The mobile phones provide a lifeline to many Africans. People gain access to services, facilities and financial systems they were previously excluded from, through their phone.

Even though the mobile phone has enabled countries in Africa to leapfrog certain developments, Dr. Rogo still sees one major challenge: tackling the enormous inequalities in society. “Let’s ask ourselves whether the systems that are there at the moment can really work for somebody who lives in the slums. My humble answer is no.”

According to Dr. Rogo, there has to be a seriousness of disruptive thinking. As so many remain excluded from basic services, we should leverage on digital technologies to improve access to healthcare.  This can drive exponential change for millions of people, helping them realize their Great Escape. This refers to the enormous test for the future that Joep Lange identified in the article Africa on the Rise written just days before the fatal MH17 disaster in 2014.

Just as Joep Lange helped push the world to action in those early days of HIV/AIDS, we are on a similar threshold today. For the first time in history, we can reach and empower people who until now have been invisible to the system, building trust and new solidarity mechanisms.

The question isn’t whether or not inclusive healthcare is possible. It’s whether there is enough political will to make it happen. Where the existing system fails the people, digital technology offers the opportunity to democratize healthcare.

The Great Escape is a documentary in the spirit of Joep Lange. Please take 15 minutes to watch it. It will leave you with a conviction: the Great Escape from poverty is possible. In fact, it can happen today.