The Permanent Secretary Ministry of Information and Communication Technology, Aminah Zawedde has assured innovators within the Health sector that government is ready to support their innovations and even protect them.
Ms. Zawedde asserted that her ministry is coming up with a lot of policies intended to protect the rights of innovators across all sectors and also the ministry has put spaces that will help in incubating new ideas and also support those ideas that are ready to feature as solutions in the health sector.
Currently, technology is fast becoming a critical component in the provision and support of primary healthcare and health emergency preparedness in rural and vulnerable communities. And digital health has proven to tackle health bottlenecks through the use of emerging technologies such as mobile phones, personal digital assistants and other wireless devices that have proved to be cost-effective in the generation of information that improves health efficiency, effectiveness and outcomes.
Unfortunately in the case of Uganda, there are still a lot of challenges in the delivery of healthcare services especially using digital technologies, especially in rural areas where there are low levels of Tech-Know how among both the local people and the health officers.
As a way of solving the above problem a lot of technologies and digital solutions have been invented with the help of the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) to harness the power of digital tools. However because of limited funding few communities have benefited.
PS Zawedde revealed that there are some gaps that innovators must understand and fulfil so that their solutions have no barriers across the country which can also help in attracting funding.
“A lot of digital solutions have come on the board, but most of our innovators don’t know how to market them so that they can be funded. So as the ministry we are trying to see how we can make these ideas work and at the same time help the innovators to know their own rights. We understand that digital technologies are the way to go and as a government our role is to provide innovators with space, there are those that require the internet, and others need skills to market their solutions succeed and the government is ready to help such people because we are coming up with programs to nature such skills,” she said while giving her closing remark on the last day of the 4th Annual Health Innovation Conference on Tuesday at Serena Hotel.
Ms. Zawedde added that the Ministry of ICT is there to see that tech promotion with the health sector succeeds by lobbying endorsements to approved solutions and promoting those in incubation hubs and supporting those who are actively in use.
“If you have an endorsement from the government of what you are doing then you will have so many opportunities. I know the politics of acquiring funds but I want to assure you that the Ministry of ICT is ready to support this community of innovators. We have various programs in the national innovation hub in Nakawa, we don’t only support innovators in Kampala but across the country through universities,” she said.
Richard Ndahiro, the Technical Advisor from UNCDF also said that there is a great need to support Health Care innovations because emerging technologies like drone artificial intelligence, geospatial and big data provide opportunities such as innovative transportation, mapping of service, digital registry and data analytics to innovatively bridge health information and delivery gaps and support decision making.
“Inclusivity remains central to the UNCDF strategy of promoting digital economies that leave no one behind As such, the intervention of UNCF in the health sector has been focused in Northern Uganda particularly. And this that we succeed we have partnered with BRAC and Medic to strengthen the skills of community health workers by leveraging the power of digital service delivery and tools,” he said.
According to UNCDF, recognizing that digitalization in the health sector, just like in other sectors of the economy is growing significantly, there is a need to approach digitalization better and do it right. There is a need for government to put in place a prioritization mechanism to narrow down the major constraints in the sector that could be significantly alleviated by leveraging digital solutions.
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