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Ideas on the future of healthcare

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At the World Economic Forum on Africa, regional and global leaders from business, government and civil society hope to agree on priorities that will help Africa achieve inclusive growth.

There is a definite urgency to focus on economic diversification, revitalization of manufacturing, and harnessing of human innovation in order to weather the economic storm forecast for the continent for the coming year.

Deloitte’s Digital Africa leader Valter Adao, points out that the metabolism of innovation in the current business, economic and government environment (from a delivery perspective) is at a pace never seen before.

He suggests that there is a need for design-thinking principles to be implemented in creating newer, future-fit, healthcare service models that are suited for the African continent, which improve health spending efficiency along with health access and outcomes for the general population.

“Governments, and specifically the ministries of health, need to invest in initiatives that are customised, culturally sensitive solutions that will achieve the desired outcomes. In regions like Nigeria and South Africa, where healthcare spend is the highest on the continent, healthcare outcomes are still poor.

“Accepting that the African region needs continued attention to address either the lack of investment into healthcare infrastructure and services, or to improve on healthcare outcomes where the investment is either at or above global benchmarks, suggests the need for more sophisticated and innovative deployment of healthcare investments and that these solutions should be a critical focus area,” he says.

Adao believes that it’s time for ministries of health to capitalise on the wider innovation trends of observing, partnering, enabling and investing to create new business models and incentives in which the ministries of health embrace the creation of innovation enabling platforms of to find solutions for the biggest healthcare challenges in their regions.

“The deviation from the traditional PPP models is that governments would not be the recipients, owners, implementers and perhaps even the investors into these solutions.  Rather, they would play a leading role in identifying the healthcare challenges to be solved. They would instead define the design constraints within which solutions have to be created, then monitor and evaluate the desired outcomes, and encourage innovation around restrictive regulations in order to allow for the rapid and scaled deployment of solutions.”

He says the recipients of these solutions would be citizens; and the ownership and investment (in a self-sustainable manner) of these solutions would lie with private/global organisations, NGOs, and (technology) entrepreneurs.

Adao suggests that the approach would lead to the improved and rapid deployment of such initiatives that would not only address the toughest healthcare challenges on the continent through rapid, innovative and self-sustainable solutions, but would also contribute towards economic growth, job creation and investment attractiveness of the region.

Adao concludes: “If disruption is the new norm of the 4th industrial revolution, then observing, partnering, enabling, and investing is the fast track to successful innovation implementations (be it value-creating, or life-saving and enhancing innovations).”