AI training unveiled for Kenya’s healthcare sector

  • A new partnership between the private and public sector is set to introduce a programme to upskill workers across Kenya’s healthcare sector in the use of AI technologies.
  • The Kenyan government and private companies like Vantage Health and AHB will first roll out a community engagement initiative, looking to educate the sector in the latest technologies.
  • Kenya’s healthcare system is overburdened, it is believed that advanced technologies like AI could lessen the workload of the sector’s already overworked members.

In order to support its over-burdened healthcare system, Kenya recently launched wide-ranging public and private sector partnerships to see the use of AI increase in hospitals and other health facilities. The latest will see doctors and other healthcare workers take advantage of a training programme to provide them with the latest technological skills, focused on AI.

As part of the upskilling programme targeting the local healthcare industry, industry workers will be informed on advanced AI solutions to address challenges being experienced. These solutions will be focused on data.

Additionally, the programme will be working to prepare the industry towards Kenya’s government aspirations of achieving “Universal Health Coverage” by 2030 – ensuring equitable healthcare access to all Kenyans.

The training will be aided by Vantage Health and AHB. Vantage is a private firm that provides AI-powered data management, patient care and real-time communication for healthcare professionals, meanwhile AHB supplies market insights and fosters stakeholder engagements across the public and private sectors.

“Technology should be tailored to help and impact fragile health systems and ensure the population benefits. There should be an emphasis on seeing impact and sustainability of digital health solutions in the communities of the people who really need it,” remarked Mohamed Mohamud, Public Health Specialist, Kenyan Red Cross.

The programme emerged after a gathering of healthcare leaders, Kenyan government officials and private sector firms met in Nairobi on 22nd February this year for a round table discussion. Attendees included the Kenya Ministry of Health, Digital Directorate, Kenya Council of Governors, Kenya Healthcare Federation, Kenya Red Cross, AMREF, Palladium, PS Kenya and LVCT Health.

Like many health sectors across Africa, Kenya’s own sector is grappling with systemic challenges including inadequate funding and limited resources, as well as battling with rising medical costs, low insurance enrollment and struggles to regulate new and old medical health products.

It faces a high prevalence of HIV infections among adolescent girls and young women, as well as an enormous burden of TB cases – Kenya is among the few countries that contribute over 85 percent of TB cases worldwide. It is believed that 32 percent of Kenyan TB patients are not able to access treatment.

One of the first steps in the partnership is the engagement of local communities in order to promote health education, technology integration, capacity building, and community involvement.

“The role of government is to provide an enabling environment where other partners can provide health system strengthening solutions such as digital health and AI,” explained Bernard Langat, Division Head, Directorate of Health Informatics, Ministry of Health.

“It is impossible to achieve the UHC dream unless all health system building blocks work together cohesively. AI will be critical to improving the connectedness of payers and providers that will have an overall positive impact on the health system,” added Dr Gakombe Kanyenje Karangaita, Chairperson of the Kenya Healthcare Federation.

African nations are rushing to adopt AI technology and legislation promoting its usage in a concerted effort to not be outpaced and left behind by more developed nations, such as the United States and countries in Western Europe.

Kenya was among the first countries to establish legislation to better exploit AI technology. In 2018 the country launched a Distributed Ledgers Technology and AI task force to develop a roadmap for the country’s usage of these innovations.

Meanwhile, countries like Ghana are already using AI software in hospitals to overcome dire staff shortages. Software is being used in certain regions to lessen the workload of hospitals that struggle with large patient loads but have few specialists to see them.

[Image – Photo by Alexander Sinn on Unsplash]


About Author


Related News