The COVID-19 pandemic has galvanized the development of more than 120 health technology innovations that have been piloted or adopted in Africa, a new World Health Organization (WHO) analysis finds.
In a statement, the WHO says the study of 1000 new or modifications of existing technologies that have been developed worldwide to target different areas of the COVID-19 response finds that Africa accounts for 12.8% of the innovations.
The response areas include surveillance, contact tracing, community engagement, treatment, laboratory systems and infection, prevention and control.
In Africa, 57.8% of the technologies were ICT-driven, 25% were based on 3D printing and 10.9% were robotics.
The ICT-based innovations include WhatsApp Chatbots in South Africa, self-diagnostic tools in Angola, contact tracing apps in Ghana and mobile health information tools in Nigeria.
The countries with the most innovations were South Africa (13%), Kenya (10%), Nigeria (8%) and Rwanda (6%).
WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti says, “COVID-19 is one of the most serious health challenges in a generation, but it is also an opportunity to drive forward innovation, ingenuity and entrepreneurship in life-saving health technologies. It’s great to see the youthful energy of the continent fired up to fight COVID-19. Solar-powered automatic handwashing tools, mobile applications that build on Africa’s rapidly growing connectivity. These home-grown innovations are uniquely adapted to the African context.”