when we hear the word “innovation”, what we visualize is a nerdy looking person on a stage receiving an award for some mind blowing invention, with all the accompanying flashlight However innovation is all that and more; it is about finding new or improved way of doing things. It can be in the form of improving existing ideas, policies, systems. It can also be invention of new products like the Mhero ( a communication tool between health workers)
So what would we say health is? Health is the state of physical and mental well being of you and I. It is our responsibility to ensure that we are in perfect health.
But what if something goes wrong? That is we get sick or the lifestyle we live is not healthy enough. Who then comes in and advice or care for us? That is where the health care providers comes in and the process they deliver those services is termed “health care delivery” .
Africa unlike other continents seems to lag behind in terms of health care. Although we have our share of successes, there is on the rise well qualified health professionals and new health policies.
We also have our share of failures like the 2014 ebola outbreak in Liberia which spread to other countries like Nigeria etc the results were so fatal that its effect is still felt till today.
To accelerate innovation in health and health care delivery system in Africa, industrialization needs to play a major role particularly in the implementation of those innovations. Industrialization is simply part of a process where people adopt easier and cheaper ways to do or make things. Health sector in Africa has not fully opened its arms to the use of various technologies or has not fully maximize its potentials.One of the area in health sector which needs to take a quantum leap is primary health care.
Primary health care(PHC) which is majorly concerned with prevention, promotion and control of health; needs to adopt methods for better health care delivery system like in :
Firstly, promoting health messages through social media handles like Facebook, whatsapp etc. These messages should include healthy lifestyles like basic hand washing exercises, effects of smoking etc. These should be backed up by various organizations, ministry of health, churches, mosques etc. These could be very effective as 70% of people now spend time on social media than anywhere else especially the younger generation.
Also educating people on healthy practices by organizing seminars, workshops, community mobilization so that the public will be informed.Through these seminars or community mobilization some myths around vaccines and immunization will be debased; some believed that these vaccines could actually cause them disease instead of preventing it.
Secondly through establishing laws or policies that ensures that drugs dispensation get to the public that it was meant for. Some health care providers sell those drugs for their own profit gain.
Thirdly, public health care need a lot of funding in accomplishing it’s various projects. These funding could come from government ,ngos, big companies and also individuals. Public health care needs all the help it can get .
Finally, I feel that in as much that we concentrate on the major or obvious diseases like malaria, HIV etc. There are many prevalent disease that needs attention; disease like river blindness, elephantiasis- which most people in the rural areas attribute as caused by fetish medicine.
As Reuters/Finbarr O’Reilly said “Access is the greatest challenge to health care delivery in Africa ” I believe that health sector in Africa should embrace technology and innovation thereby making health services available to the public, Africa health care system will boom.