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Analog To Digital Healthcare, What’s In It For Zimbabwe

By Branton Matondo

With an ever increasing population in Zimbabwe, an analog based health care spectrum and an ailing public medical sector major player’s in the medical and pharmaceutical fraternity have heightened health care digitalisation process which will ease operations, set foot for AI initiatives and upgrade clinical decisions for physicians and doctors.

Digital innovations and AI expansion in developed countries and a few countries in the periphery have facilitated expansion of production not only in major economic and political fields but also in health care sector.

Trifour, a Pretoria based organisation and leading modern medical amalgamate that cores its work in digitising health care systems in African and beyond seeks to implement digital innovations in Zimbabwe through a collaborative effort with local medical organisation’s and international stakeholders.

Trifour Group Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Gerrit Henning told Post On Sunday that the organisation is in the process of advancing digital innovations in Zimbabwe as it seeks to assist physicians in information analysis, clinical decisions and data capture.

“Trifour is fully localized and we are now introducing a range of products into the market to really help transform digital innovations so that digital innovations are used in health care. It’s beyond information management but also help in providing but also moving in the space of providing predictive data analysis, making use of clinical decisions by doctors, physicians and health care operators so that they execute their jobs perfectly.”

Speaking at a locally held annual general meeting in Nyanga Private Hospital Association (PHA) Vice President Letitia Gaga said ICT and digital innovations in Zimbabwe’s health care sector are beyond favorable.

Private Healthcare Association of Zimbabwe Chairman, Timothy Goche. Pic by Shingirai Vambe

“There is clearly no appetite when it comes to ICT and digital enhancements in Zimbabwe’s health care system. The most disturbing factor is that when professional Zimbabwean experts in the ICT health care sector operate externally, that is in other countries they flourish and make a mark but it is totally opposite on the local front. The local setup is very restrictive, hindered by a plethora of challenges. However, we we pushing to work with the external medical and pharmaceutical community so that we facilitate change.”

Medical experts predict that implementation of advanced digital innovations will improve outcomes for patience, more precision in drug dosage and cost reduction.

Though Artificial Intelligence (AI) seems to have dominated economics and communication markets Henning cited that there is need to fully implement AI tech innovations in Zimbabwe to facilitate better outcomes.

“AI is an area that we are really exploring especially on our data analytics side. Through AI you can make data analytics not only on what has happened but what is potentially going to happen. So we are starting to use some AI to map the future ahead of us. AI will also assist in clinical decisions for example pharmaceutical prescriptions and this is also part of the solution. Another important issue is that everything should be tried and tested before being exposed to the public.”

Budget allocation for the medical and health care sector is pegged at 15% of the annual fiscas but at the moment its hovering at 11%.

It’s unlike countries like Rwanda who have gone full throttle in investing in advanced medical and health care innovations by allocating 23 % of the national budget.

Zimbabwe’s medical sector is hindered by a plethora of factors that stem from lack of proper research, limited funding, and lack of investment.