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Facebook, Merck join African healthcare initiative

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Facebook and Merck are supporting I Care 4 Africa, an initiative between a Silicon Valley=based NGO and a Ghana based incubator to catalyze the current healthcare system in Africa.
California-based Hack for Big Choices and Ghana-based, Impact Hub Accra teamed up to host the largest hackathon in Africa last February. They are now announcing that in March 2016 they will launch I Care 4 Africa. For the first time ever, private companies, entrepreneurs, and governments will be working together to lay down the foundation for a continent-wide healthcare system.
“Until now African healthcare has depended heavily on international aid organizations that are not unified in their approach to creating sustainable innovation that can solve healthcare problems,” says Aurora Chiste, CEO of Hack for Big Choices. “I believe that local entrepreneurs, who until now have been left out of the equation, are the trigger that can leapfrog the system.
“We intend to prove that through collaboration with the world’s leaders and local stakeholders, it’s possible to structure a innovative, sustainable healthcare system.”
The programme is designed to empower entrepreneurs and medical professionals to use their first-hand experience and talents to match business opportunities in the healthcare space. There will be a major healthcare hackathon in June 24-26th 2016 to launch new businesses, followed by an accelerator programme.
Health challenges in Africa may continue to worsen due to inadequate systems for prevention and care. As the population of Africa continues to boom, solving the healthcare crisis is imperative. For instance:
* 61,7% of deaths in Africa are mostly preventable (infectious disease, maternal, neonatal, and nutrition conditions) By contrast, these conditions account for only 23% of deaths worldwide;
* 70% of all people living with HIV are in sub-Saharan Africa;
* Only 50% of people have access to modern health facilities;
* Africa carries the burden of 25% of global disease yet makes up only 2% of the global physician workforce; and
* Westernized lifestyle and increased life expectancy in Africa is causing an increase of chronic diseases (cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and diabetes) that by 2030 will account for 42% of all deaths in the region.