Improving health in developing countries require an interdisciplinary approach to sustainable development. Apart from the healthcare delivery itself, several factors put millions of people’s health at risk. The average life expectancy in Africa is an estimated 50 years. Nearly three-quarters of all deaths is caused by infectious diseases, substandard maternity care, poor maternal and child health, and poor food. Most diseases are preventable, but with only one doctor for every 10,000 people and a lack of resources, this is a very challenging task.
Shortage of qualified health workers and supplies, equipment, and drugs limits ability of health facilities to provide effective services. The network of infrastructure in Sub-Saharan Africa includes health posts, dispensaries, and/or rural maternities. This first level of healthcare system plays the role of interface between the population and the higher-level facilities like district and other hospitals.
Countries in Africa spend significant amounts of their GDP on delivering health services through systems that are often inefficient, costly and lacking in transparency. Information and communication technologies (ICTs) have the potential to transform the delivery of health services across the continent in ways that not only increase efficiency but also improve accountability.
The availability and quality of ICT services are growing rapidly across Africa. However, these gains in ICT infrastructure have not as yet benefitted the health sector in a systematic way.
Although there are many ongoing projects across Africa that attempt to improve the health sector through the use of ICTs, most remain pilots, few are evaluated and even fewer are designed or assessed for scalability.