Ugandan developers are driving Africa’s Health-Tech revolution during the pandemic

Without sufficient access to vaccines and faced with a terrifying surge of COVID-19 infections across the continent, African governments are resorting to strict curfews and lockdowns to save lives. With movement heavily restricted, how can citizens in dire need access crucial medical services?

CTI Africa, a team of young Ugandans, has worked closely with the Ministry of Health (MOH) in Uganda to provide a solution. The team of young designers and developers produced the MOH “Call the Clinic” (CTC) app –a telemedicine healthcare platform. The app grants users instant access to a medical professional via voice or video call, allowing for remote diagnosis without having to leave the safety of home.

Speaking at the launch of the App in May last year, the Health Ministry Permanent Secretary, Dr Diana Atwiine said the app marked the beginning of a new era in medical care in Uganda.

Indeed, the MOH CTC app is part of broader efforts by the Ugandan government to leverage technology in response to COVID-19. Globally, one silver lining of the pandemic has been its catalytic impact on digitalisation of business and government services across all sectors. Uganda is no exception.

“The app is a simple practical solution in line with Ministry of Health efforts to digitize healthcare service,” said Dr Atwiine at the launch. “Individuals will have access to both informative and educative information from the Ministry of Health on the latest updates and statistics. Through the application, the public is also educated on the symptoms and preventive measures against COVID-19,” she added.

One such member of the public spoke to Innovate Uganda about her experience with the app. “I had so many concerns about my health and this was during the lockdown when movement was restricted,” said Hellen Ajio, one of more than 1,000 users that have downloaded the App. “A friend recommended the CTC App which I tried out. I met with a doctor via video chat and she made a diagnosis of me effectively.”

Ajio added she had been able to get constant COVID-19 updates and other crucial information about the virus via the app, which also provides a symptom checker and guidance on preventative measures.

The global telemedicine market has grown significantly in recent years, and is projected to be valued at almost $460 billion by 2030, up from some $50 billion in 2019.

Meanwhile, with African governments turning increasingly to technology to address the fast-evolving needs of their people, and seeking to partner with home-grown teams of innovators like CTI Africa, the African HealthTech revolution is already well underway.

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