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Exactly six months into the launch of the Healthtech Hub, the Novartis Foundation, in partnership with Norrsken East Africa, organized the Healthtech Summit in Rwanda. It was the first ever Healthtech Summit held in Africa and Rwanda. Leading healthtech companies and startups working towards transforming the health sector on the continent met at the summit to discuss and showcase the potential of healthtech on the continent.

Experts shared their expertise and take on topics like ‘Acceleration of HealthTech innovation- how to create a pan-African model to fast-tracking innovation for public health’; ‘The Integration of HealthTech in Smart Cities for health equity; How to build a unicorn: Global Problems, Local Solutions in Health; Navigating Data Sharing, Consumer Protectionism, and Privacy Laws in the Region; and Artificial Intelligence powering efficiency in the public health system. There was also room to expand on these topics through different masterclasses with experts and pitching sessions where health-tech startups pitched before prospective investors.

During the summit, participants learned from successful innovations and the challenges they overcame, joined inspirational dialogues on health and technology trends, discovered some of the most advanced innovations in the 2022 startup cohort, and had the chance to engage in new partnership opportunities. 

The Novartis Foundation’s Head, Dr. Ann Aerts, was at the hub for the first time since its launch. In her opening remarks, she reminded summit attendees and the startup owners to “Make sure these solutions address a local problem and a real need.” Dr. Aerts also reiterated that it is the philosophy behind the HealthTech Hub, which is why they are partnering with the government through institutions like the Ministry of Health & Ministry of ICT. Dr. Aerts’commitment to supporting healthtech solutions and pushing for more ways to increase their accessibility worldwide was witnessed by summit attendees and other stakeholders that were at the summit. 

Startups at the summit raised their visibility and served as a platform to inspire other participants to think of better ways to ensure healthcare delivery across Africa. This will also contribute to achieving all Sustainable Development Goals for health.

The summit concluded with The Future of Virtual Health and Care – driving access and equity through inclusive policies, the latest report from the Broadband Commission Working Group on Virtual Health and Care, co-chaired bythe World Health Organisation and the Novartis Foundation. We were joined by honorees, and different experts, like Minister Paula Ingabire of the Ministry of ICT and Innovation in Rwanda, Dr. Ann Aerts, Head of the Novartis Foundation, Dr. Brian Chirombo, Representative of the WHO to the Republic of Rwanda, Mr. Lacina Koné, the CEO of Smart Africa, and Bocar Ba, the CEO of Samena Telecommunications Council.

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