IFC-led online health summit aims to strengthen East Africa’s healthcare sector

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The FINANCIAL — IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is bringing together more than 50 global health-tech innovators along with leading East African healthcare providers to forge partnerships to help address Africa’s healthcare challenges by mobilizing new technologies and systems in the region.

The TechEmerge Health East Africa Innovation Summit is taking place online from October 27 to 29, 2020. Selected companies will demonstrate the latest health-tech solutions supporting operations during COVID-19 and innovations in point-of-care diagnostics, artificial intelligence in clinical data, maternal and child health, and more.

These innovators will present to an audience of top healthcare providers from Kenya, Uganda, and Ethiopia that serve more than 5 million patients annually at over 250 facilities. International experts will discuss health tech trends and investment themes, while a virtual exhibition hall will house over 50 interactive booths staffed by tech companies from 20 countries.

Over the next decade, the combined population of Kenya, Uganda, and Ethiopia is expected to grow by more than 60 million people, pressuring already strained healthcare systems in a region where most people lack access to essential health services. In that same period, East Africa’s $8 billion healthcare sector is forecast to almost double to $15 billion.

Jumoke Jagun-Dokunmu, IFC Regional Director, Eastern Africa, said, “The East Africa region is growing rapidly, and most patients pay out-of-pocket for healthcare. There is great demand for new solutions that can improve patient outcomes, operational efficiency, and affordability, especially for remote and underserved communities.”

The summit’s matchmaking event is part of the TechEmerge accelerator program, an IFC initiative designed to pilot and scale new technologies in vital sectors in emerging markets.

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TechEmerge will also hold invitation-only matchmaking sessions to discuss pilot projects to be jointly conducted by innovators and East African hospitals, clinics laboratories, and pharma retailers in urban and rural communities. A pool of US$ 1 million in funding will be available to support local pilot projects following the event, along with advice and support from the TechEmerge program.

This year’s virtual format means panel discussions, exhibits, and networking events will be open to the public, creating new ways for participants to explore potential business and development opportunities.

The TechEmerge Health East Africa program is implemented in partnership with the Government of Japan, the Israeli Ministry of Economy and Industry, and the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment of Finland.

TechEmerge began in 2016 with a successful program in India’s healthcare sector. It has since expanded to Brazil and launched new projects to drive innovation in sustainable cooling in Latin American cities and to accelerate new disaster management solutions in India.

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