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Dakar Blueprint Summit

Theme : Fast-tracking HealthTech Innovations to Improve Public Health in Africa

Time: 29 August, 2023, 9am-5pm GMT

Location: Dakar, Senegal

Objectives of the Summit in Dakar, Senegal:

  • Convene regulators, policy-makers and innovators to review and validate findings from experiences in implementing health tech solutions in the public health systems of African countries
  • Showcase the results of the fast-tracking HealthTech project Saytu Tension and the learnings from the collaboration between the Ministry of Health of Senegal and the health tech startup, BAAMTU

  • Discuss the critical element for ensuring the sustainability and adoption of health tech solutions

Speakers and audience:

  • High-level government officials from the Ministries of Health and ICT/Innovation of the following countries: Senegal, Rwanda, Nigeria, Kenya, Côte d’Ivoire, South Africa
  • Innovators and health tech startups from the above countries
  • International organizations

The Partners :

Background :

Africa faces significant health challenges. While the continent suffers 22% of the global disease burden, it has only 3% of the world’s healthcare workers and less than 1% of the world’s financial resources. Additionally, Africa is projected to have about 374 million youth of working age by 2030, and yet, they currently make up 60% of the continent’s unemployed population. Technology has proved to be the most powerful tool to close those health and employment gaps.

The first year of the HealthTech Hub Africa, inaugurated in December 2021, supported phase one for establishing the Blueprint for a public-private mechanism to fast-track health tech Innovations for public health in Africa.

The Blueprint

The Blueprint’s core focus will be gathering and distil policy insights and learnings from the acceleration and scale-up use cases of health-tech innovations in public health. A landscape analysis, interviews, workshops and learning boot camps will be conducted as the basis for the evidence-driven policy recommendations.

The Blueprint will provide practical recommendations and techniques to help government officials apply long-term strategic thinking in policymaking, allowing them to accelerate the use of innovative technologies in health systems. These will be based on good practices and real use case examples concerning policies and regulations for assessing, selecting, validating, refining, accelerating and integrating health-tech solutions for public health.

They can be reused, refined and retrofitted to national policy contexts to maintain consistency and efficacy. We will collect learnings for the startup-government collaboration processes and policies maturity from the currently launched several fast-tracking projects within Rwanda, Senegal, and several other countries.

Aspired Outcomes

  • Facilitate dialogue between start-ups and policymakers by launching an Intergovernmental Working Group (IWG) to address the gaps and provide opportunities for new and existing innovations to scale and strengthen health systems more broadly.
  • Influence both in-country and global health policy by capturing real-world insights from the identified policy and regulation gaps in Africa in foresight policy guide Blueprint.
  • Translate insights into action to achieve tangible population health impact and narrow health inequities through integrating and scaling up solutions in the public health systems.

The Intergovernmental Working Group

The IWG will be a platform for multilateral discussions and collaboration around health tech innovation and policy on the continent for the project’s duration.

The role of IWG members includes:

    • Supporting the needs and challenges definition of a city and/or national level.
    • Operationalizing the government-level support for the execution of validation projects with the selected innovations, including their testing, validation, and integration activities in a district city and/or national level
    • Defining a vision and recommendations for sustainability and scale-up roadmap of the innovation within the respective public health system supporting the development, implementation, and dissemination of policy recommendations based on key learnings from the projects
    • Attending two hybrid IWG Summits (one in Kigali, Rwanda and one in Dakar, Senegal) and two-four annual Blueprint workshops to address topics of relevance in the Blueprint creation with start-ups and government leaders (e.g. validate interview findings, etc.)

The IWG co-chairs will appoint dedicated project managers / focal points in their organisations to ensure continued interaction and steering. These focal points constitute the project “Core Team” and the selected partner. It is envisaged that several IWG members actively contribute to the development of the deliverables, e.g. by mobilising their networks of experts, providing guidance, reviewing drafts, and to the review of the draft report elements.

Context :

The mission of HealthTech Hub Africa (HTHA), located in Kigali, Rwanda, is to help governments and start-ups collaborate on data and technology-enabled innovations that strengthen African health systems. As part of this mission, the HTHA introduced the Blueprint initiative to catalyze scalable technology solutions that can address Africa’s health challenges (See Section in Background: “The Blueprint”). March 23, 2023: HTHA Policy Summit Recap at the Norrsken House in Kigali, Rwanda

65 start-up health-tech innovators, private sector investors, and high-level government officials from Rwanda and Senegal attended the HTHA Policy Summit to fast-track HealthTech Innovations to improve Public Health in Africa.

At the event, the HTHA officially launched:

  • an Intergovernmental Working Group (“IWG”) to facilitate the fast-tracking of health tech innovations in public health systems through the interaction between public health leaders and health tech startups and scaleups and
  • the development of a Blueprint for scaling innovations

Highlights of the March Blueprint Summit 2023

Play Video

Keynote Address – Paula Ingabire, Minister of ICT and Innovation (Rwanda)

In her Keynote address, Honorable Paula Ingabire, the Minister of ICT and Innovation, stated what an honor it was to have two governments and so many HealthTech startups in one place. She highlighted the need to improve data literacy, develop cross border data sharing, explore cross-border certifications, and create benchmarking standards.

From Senegal, the representatives leading the panel discussion were Dr Teddy Drame (Lead M&E of the Division of NCDs of the MSAS) and Mayoro Diagne, COO of BAAMTU, the startup that the DLMNT/MSAS selected to implement Saytu Tension, the initiative to accelerate the early detection of hypertension in the population and improve patient management.

The next steps will be to continue engaging with regulators and innovators to further understand the policy landscape and challenges faced and propose actionable solutions embedded in the Blueprint. Through the dialogues, the teams supporting the development of the Blueprint will capture real-world insights that can help influence policies globally and in Rwanda and Senegal.