Telemedicine, in particular, has brought about a number of significant positive changes across the African continent.
Having said that, it is still not nearly as widespread as it should be.
Here are the facts.
What Is Telemedicine?
Telemedicine refers to the utilisation of different forms of technology, whether it is video calling or simply using a cell phone to communicate with healthcare workers, nurses and doctors. It is an approach to healthcare that can be used in instances where individuals may not have direct access to health workers or specialists in person, but who still require their expertise in order to overcome or manage a health problem or disease.
Telemedicine could essentially be a solution to the healthcare crisis that many rural communities in Africa are currently facing. According to the World Health Organisation, 43% of South Africa’s population lives in rural regions, with just one physician responsible for 7700 people. The situation is even more dire in numerous other African countries, including Nigeria and Sierra Leone.
While the solution of telemedicine sounds like a revelation, it is not a new approach. It has actually been around in Africa since the late 1990s. The reason why it has not become more commonplace is due to the countless other challenges standing in its way, including access to a reliable internet connection. Luckily, as progress is being made within the realm of digital technology, so too is telemedicine continuing to spread its wings and, in so doing, helping hundreds and hundreds of Africans to lead healthier lifestyles.