What is Digital health?
According to WHO, it is the use of digital technologies and health innovation to accelerate the attainment of health and the well-being.
Digital Health in Cameroon
In Cameroon, the Ministry of Public Health and its partners have designed a National Strategic Digital Health Plan with the following objectives;
- To meet the health needs of the population and improve living conditions through access to the best health care.
- To ensure patients make good decisions about their health status and enjoy effective, efficient and personalized health care.
- To promote Universal Health Coverage (UHC), which will contribute effectively to better patient care and surveillance of emerging diseases.
- To strengthen the urbanization of health information systems.
- To ensure a sustainable, secure, and efficient flow of data within the health information system.
- To ensure the standardized implementation of system tools and software.
- To improve the ICT infrastructure that is the bedrock of the health information system.
- To promote strong use of data for clinical service management, individual health decision making, and public health planning.
Perceptions about Digital health in Cameroon
With the current use of digital tools and internet in the country, digital health services should be available to citizen now, but many doubt its viability.
“Digital health policy is not yet effective in Cameroon. Too many elements do not favor its implementation, such as the recurring problems of electricity, and poverty,” says Claude Francois Njiyap, mental health specialist
How digital is Cameroon? How digital are users of health care? These are some of the questions running through the mind of Josephine Nsono, Gender Disability and Inclusive Development specialist. “we have a vast number of people who are stuck in hard to reach areas with no or limited access to the internet or android phones. So how feasible is the adaptation of digital healthcare in Cameroon?
“The issue of constant electricity failure makes it difficult for Cameroonians to use such services. In addition to expensive data rates, on and off internet signals, makes it worse. Nevertheless, I know of the Waspito app which consults people online. This shows that if the government plays its part, then implementing such services in the country will be a reality,” says Gola Loveline, a business woman.
However, Dr Manaouda Malachie, Minister of Public Health says, the contribution of digital health interventions can help mitigate the main challenges facing Cameroon’s health system, such as geographic inaccessibility, low demand for services, delay in care delivery, poor adherence to clinical protocols, and costs borne by individuals.