Technology has a lot to play in improving the healthcare system in Africa. Most governments in Africa have not heavily invested in the healthcare system. The politicians have made it a culture to travel to Europe and America to get the best quality healthcare.
So, what happens to the billions of people that can’t travel out to access a quality healthcare system?
They are left to face the shortage of staff, inadequate bed space, and high cost of accessing healthcare. Technology is a great way to serve as a leveler to address all these problems.
What is Blockchain Technology?
Blockchain is a system of recording information that makes it difficult or impossible to change, hack, or cheat the system.
Blockchain technology is beyond finances; the impact of blockchain technology cuts across many sectors ranging from Arts, sports to the healthcare sector. Blockchain is the intersection between hope and hype.
There is a massive opportunity for Blockchain technology to disrupt the healthcare sector ranging from medical records, pharmaceutical supplies to the diagnosis of diseases.
The advantages cut across the western countries and the third-world countries. For example, if you have visited some hospitals in some third-world countries, you’ll agree that the records are not properly kept. Some are written in analog, and a natural disaster like fire or earthquake can erase all the medical logs at the hospital.
The medical records of a patient at a hospital increase with each visit, and retrieving them becomes a bit more complex.
Some Blockchain health companies like Medibloc are helping to solve these problems by assisting patients to get access to their health records easily and providing better security.
Blockchain helps to increase data security and privacy of patient’s health records; this ensures that it is not compromised.
The healthcare industry has a massive supply chain. As a result, medical supplies have been moved from one place to another. Blockchain technologies help to track and ensure that medical supplies get to the intended destination.
Blockchain technology will be used to verify the authenticity of the products by tracing them from manufacturers; this will help reduce human errors. In addition, blockchain companies like Blockpharma are working on how the logistical solutions in the healthcare industry can be solved.
The quality of products, especially drugs, can be compromised due to the movement of goods; the drugs might be exposed to certain temperatures that might compromise their quality. Blockchain technology helps to detect if such cases have occurred.
According to IBM research, over 122,000 African children lose their lives every year due to counterfeit antimalarial drugs. So it is good to have a system that can help trace the drug from the Pharma to the patients.
There are a lot of issues regarding fake drugs in the healthcare industry. Cardano is one of the blockchain projects that are helping to solve the problem of Fake drugs. Unfortunately, a lot of people have died as a result of using the wrong medications.
Blockchain technology can help verify that authentic drugs are handed over to an authorized party at the transfer point.
Counterfeit drugs have become a menace globally. The dangers posed by fake drugs have become a menace, and patients find it difficult to distinguish drugs. This is becoming lucrative in Africa as a result of the high unemployment rate. Cardano can help to determine drugs that are fake and make the pharmaceutical industry safe.
Education is a very important part of the healthcare system. People need to be made aware of certain practices and the effect it has on their health. Blockchain technology helps to educate people on certain safe health practices.
Inadequate health education and misinformation hurt the quality of life in Africa. Certain practices need to be abolished. For example, some parts of Africa still believe that menstrual health is not discussed openly.
Mental health is an aspect of health that needs adequate attention to be paid. Blockchain technology doesn’t only help with diagnoses; it also helps to provide good education on how to handle their mental health condition.
AskToken is a collaboration between Ask the doctor and global cryptocurrency investment fund FD7 ventures. Although AskToken is conceptualized to help educate citizens about basic healthcare, it also empowers them with a digital currency to pay for doctors and medications when needed.
Conclusion: The problem addressed in this article is just one of the problems addressed with Blockchain technology in Africa. Further research and the establishment of more Healthtech or Meditech companies in Africa will help ensure that health care practitioners are well equipped to use technology to solve the problems that face the healthcare system in Africa.
Written By Adeyemi Boboye