A new study found that, like many developing countries, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, had a modest infrastructure, human resource capacity, and readiness of public healthcare facilities to nurture and strengthen DHIs across the TB and HIV care cascades.
Citing the World Health Organization (WHO) the study defines Digital Health Interventions (DHIs) as a discrete functionality of digital technology used to achieve health goals. DHIs are health interventions that use digital devices, mobile, and wireless technologies to achieve health goals, which include both mobile health (mHealth) and electronic health (eHealth).
The findings put forward that successful implementation and use of digital health against two infectious diseases of global importance in such settings necessitate technological and operational resource readiness, including funding and a well-trained workforce.
The aforementioned study, which includes TB or HIV healthcare providers working in the 14 selected healthcare facilities of Addis Ababa, outline the main barrier to implementing and integrating DHIs into the health system for evidence-based decision-making is a lack of data on country-specific digital health capacity and the larger ICT ecosystem.
Ethiopia is still classified as a low-income country by the World Bank as of 2020. (LCI). Almost half of the country’s population lives in poverty, according to international standards. In 2021, more than 18% of the population would require humanitarian assistance. This is due to the pandemic, as well as other recent calamities such as drought and internal conflict.
According to another study by JDC, more than half of the population must walk more than 6 miles to the nearest health facility. As a result, many Ethiopians go untreated for diseases like malaria, tuberculosis, meningitis, and COVID-19. Ethiopia’s expansion of digital health care will help to reduce disparities between rural and urban areas. It has the potential to increase the reach of healthcare practitioners to those in need.
It is recalled that, first of its kind, the Digital Health Innovation and Learning Center (DHILC), was inaugurated in Addis Ababa in August 2020. The DHILC is a place where health professionals can design and validate digital health tools, synthesize, and promote best practices, and scale-up innovations. The DHILC was built by the MOH in collaboration with Saint Peter’s Specialized Hospital and JSI Research & Training Institute, Inc. through the Ethiopia Data Use Partnership (DUP), with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
The center is believed to revolutionize health care in Ethiopia as well as the establishment of a call center to offer remote support to users.
The prediction is that the DHILC would solve approximately “85% of users’ minor health information system-related problems.” It has been crucial in the testing and development of applications related to COVID-19 said one information.
So, yes, there are multiple calls for improvement on the current path. However, by providing citizens with equal access to innovative Digital Health products and services, Ethiopia can save lives and improve society’s productivity.
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