Publications by authors named "Derrick Muneene"

3 Publications

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Strengthening capacities among digital health leaders for the development and implementation of national digital health programs in Nigeria.

BMC Proc 2020 23;14(Suppl 10). Epub 2020 Jul 23.

World Health Organization-African Regional Office, Brazzaville, Congo.

Background: Discussions on the use of digital health to advance health have continued to gain traction over the past decades. This is important considering the rising penetration of mobile phones and other digital technologies and the opportunity to leverage those digital and electronic health methods and innovations to accelerate Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and the health Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In Nigeria, however, the full benefits of digital technologies to strengthen the health systems are yet to be fully harnessed due to critical challenges in the sector. These challenges include but not limited to weak health systems governance, weak infrastructural investments, inadequate resources, weak human resource capacity, high cost of scaling-up and coordination issues among others. Lack of systems thinking, and design have significant impact on coordination of efforts and has resulted in the fragmentation and non-interoperability among various applications. To discuss these challenges and propose the way forward for rapid sustainable, scalable and cost-effective deployment of digital health in Nigeria, a digital health capacity development workshop was held in Abuja and across the six geo-political zones of Nigeria from 20th - 30th November 2019. This paper documents key conclusions and achievements at the workshop.

Methods: The workshop was organized around eleven modules and seven thematic areas which explored the Nigerian digital health governance and coordinating mechanisms in view of its status, leadership, financing and deployment for effective service delivery. It was attended by over 100 participants from varied background including Ministries of Health, Ministries of Communications and Digital Economy, International Organizations, Operators, Civil Society, Academia and Private Sector Experts.

Results: The workshop resolved that while digital health technologies offer profound opportunities to strengthen Nigerian health systems for UHC and the health SDGs, there should be a move from donor-driven pilot projects to robust, sustainable, cost-effective and nationally owned projects. This will involve a people-centered approach that should be demand-driven and not supply-driven to avoid wasting time on ineffective interventions, duplication of efforts and wastage of scarce health resources. Government ownership and leadership was identified as critical for sustainable financing and effective scale up of Digital Health projects in Nigeria.

Conclusions: The DH capacity development workshop was a good forum to deliberate important issues regarding sustainable and cost-effective DH solutions that could be scaled to strengthen health service delivery in Nigeria. Insightful ideas for scaling DH in Nigeria and other related settings emanated from the workshop, necessitating the need for a focused government commitment and leadership in institutionalizing digital health in Nigeria.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12919-020-00193-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7376631PMC
July 2020

How Can Digital Health Technologies Contribute to Sustainable Attainment of Universal Health Coverage in Africa? A Perspective.

Front Public Health 2019 15;7:341. Epub 2019 Nov 15.

International Health System Strengthening Expert, Accra, Ghana.

Innovative strategies such as digital health are needed to ensure attainment of the ambitious universal health coverage in Africa. However, their successful deployment on a wider scale faces several challenges on the continent. This article reviews the key benefits and challenges associated with the application of digital health for universal health coverage and propose a conceptual framework for its wide scale deployment in Africa. Digital health has several benefits. These include; improving access to health care services especially for those in hard-to-reach areas, improvements in safety and quality of healthcare services and products, improved knowledge and access of health workers and communities to health information; cost savings and efficiencies in health services delivery; and improvements in access to the social, economic and environmental determinants of health, all of which could contribute to the attainment of universal health coverage. However, digital health deployment in Africa is constrained by challenges such as poor coordination of mushrooming pilot projects, weak health systems, lack of awareness and knowledge about digital health, poor infrastructure such as unstable power supply, poor internet connectivity and lack of interoperability of the numerous digital health systems. Contribution of digital health to attainment of universal health coverage requires the presence of elements such as resilient health system, communities and access to the social and economic determinants of health. Further evidence and a conceptual framework are needed for successful and sustainable deployment of digital health for universal health coverage in Africa.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpubh.2019.00341DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6873775PMC
November 2019

Conclusions of the digital health hub of the Transform Africa Summit (2018): strong government leadership and public-private-partnerships are key prerequisites for sustainable scale up of digital health in Africa.

BMC Proc 2018 15;12(Suppl 11):17. Epub 2018 Aug 15.

WHO Country Office, Kigali, Rwanda.

Background: The use of digital technologies to improve access to health is gaining momentum in Africa. This is more pertinent with the increasing penetration of mobile phone technology and internet use, and calls for innovative strategies to support implementation of the health-related Sustainable Development Goals and Universal Health Coverage on the continent. However, the huge potential benefits of digital health to advance health services delivery in Africa is yet to be fully harnessed due to critical challenges such as proliferation of pilot projects, poor coordination, inadequate preparedness of the African health workforce for digital health, lack of interoperability and inadequate sustainable financing, among others. To discuss these challenges and propose the way forward for rapid, cost-effective and sustainable deployment of digital health in Africa, a Digital Health Hub was held in Kigali from 8th to 9th May 2018 under the umbrella of the Transform Africa Summit 2018.

Methods: The hub was organized around five thematic areas which explored the status, leadership, innovations, sustainable financing of digital health and its deployment for prevention and control of Non-Communicable Diseases in Africa. It was attended by over 200 participants from Ministries of Health and Information and Communication Technology, Private Sector, Operators, International Organizations, Civil Society and Academia.

Conclusions: The hub concluded that while digital health offers major opportunities for strengthening health systems towards the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals including Universal Health Coverage in Africa, there is need to move from Donor-driven pilot projects to more sustainable and longer term nationally owned programmes to reap its benefits. This would require the use of people-centred approaches which are demand, rather than supply-driven in order to avoid fragmentation and wastage of health resources. Government leadership is also critical in ensuring the availability of an enabling environment including national digital health strategies, regulatory, coordination, sustainable financing mechanisms and building of the necessary partnerships for digital health.

Recommendations: We call on the Smart Africa Secretariat, African Ministries in charge of health, information and communication technology and relevant stakeholders to ensure that the key recommendations of the hub are implemented.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12919-018-0156-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6117634PMC
August 2018
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