The goal of eGabon is to hasten the development of eHealth services in Gabon.

Residents of Gabon will benefit from better treatment, less redundant diagnostic tests, less unneeded hospitalization, and better diagnoses as the country’s health care system is digitized.

The initiative will improve healthcare employees’ information and communication technology (ICT) abilities, with an emphasis on women.

LIBREVILLE – While the internet, mobile phones, and other digital technologies were rapidly spreading throughout the developing world, the expected digital dividends of higher growth had fallen short of expectations, according to the World Bank’s World Development Report (WDR) on Digital Dividends published in January 2016.

Digital technology may enhance inclusivity, efficiency, and creativity in a field like health, according to the paper. Digital tools, on the other hand, must be accompanied with effective country ownership, solid governance, and strong institutional and human capability in order to enjoy these benefits.

The e-Gabon initiative, which intends to hasten the development of eHealth services in Gabon, is the first to put the 2016 WDR’s recommendations into action.

Gabon already has a well-developed information and communication technology infrastructure. It is a regional leader in the development of e-government and broadband. The government is now attempting to improve public health care with the help of the World Bank. Experts believe that putting health services online will enhance both basic care and efficiency. By introducing new ways of developing and managing people’s health care requirements, it will help create jobs and foster innovation.

“The goal is to improve the efficiency of the system,” says Michel Rogy, a World Bank policy specialist on information and communications technology. “It would be easier to handle and communicate if we can have everything from prescriptions to health histories in a digital database.” We may also utilize technology to predict possible health emergencies and respond more quickly if an outbreak occurs in a remote region.”

The eGabon project is divided into two parts:

The first will implement a National Health Information System, which will improve access and efficiency while also enhancing service quality. This entails improving healthcare personnel’ information and communication technology (ICT) abilities, with a particular focus on women.The second focuses on the broader economy by encouraging the creation of content, apps, and services relevant to the digitization of health data. The establishment of an electronic artificial womb in Libreville (the capital), and also relatively small incubators in Port-Gentil (the financial powerhouse) and Franceville (and you can find there the International Center for Medical Research (CIRMF) is based), is aimed at fostering the growth of a digital innovation ecosystem. The objective is to increase the number of start-ups, with a particular focus on women-owned businesses, as well as to develop local digital content, apps, and services. This includes hackathons and business proposal competitions, among other things.

The National Health System’s employees and patients, as well as those working in Gabon’s digital economy, would profit the most from this project. Gabon’s government has concentrated on health care to demonstrate the potential for e-services expansion and, more simply, to enhance the present system. Gabon has not achieved its Millennium Development Goals in the area of health and struggles to acquire good value for money in its operations.

“By giving physicians, nurses, and other health professionals with the information they need to make better diagnosis and treatments, the new system will enhance the quality of health care in Gabon. It will also encourage knowledge exchanges since information will be more easily shared with other health professionals, resulting in increased continuity, efficiency, and timeliness “Dominic Haazen, a World Bank Lead Health Policy Specialist and specialist on health information systems, argues.

Easier access to health care at cheaper prices, as well as the widespread availability of health apps on mobile phones (including smartphones), will affect the whole community. According to experts, the revisions would have a significant influence on the country’s digital economic development. Investments and interest in e-health have the potential to boost Gabon’s domestic information and communications industry, which might lead to the creation of new ideas and enterprises, as well as international investment and jobs.

Gabon will need to obtain stronger broadband networks and build a well-trained staff, in addition to continuing to enhance the system itself, in order to experience this beneficial transition. Intervention by the government is required to solve the following issues:

Absence of accurate interconnection outside of major cities; low investor confidence due to the dispersed population and low disposable income; insufficient workforce capacity in terms of new venture creation, web, and communications skills; and an absence of suitable legislative, finance, and information sharing frameworks that have aided the digital economies in Senegal, Morocco, Kenya, and Ghana.

Investments in online health care imply “better health care, fewer redundant diagnostic tests, less unneeded hospitalization, and better diagnosis and treatment” for the ordinary Gabonese inhabitant, according to Haazen. It might also benefit the economy as a whole. “We intend to have a cascading effect outside health care and establish an example for the rest of Sub-Saharan Africa,” Rogy says.

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