Digital Payment Systems: Step Towards High Tech Era In Healthcare

A UNESCO report claims that despite an increase in science spending globally over the previous five years, no African nation devotes 1% of its GDP to research and development.

Digital Payment Systems: Step Towards High Tech Era In Healthcare

The need for universal healthcare access is still great, and it is particularly acute in Africa. African researchers, scientists, and inventors have the potential to significantly contribute to the development of domestic solutions, but the continent lacks sufficient funding for cutting-edge pharmaceutical research and development (R&D).

We must act right away in order to carry out the African Union’s Agenda 2063 for a radical transformation of the continent.

Following the recent webinar on African Innovation for Inclusive Healthcare hosted by the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA) and the Holistic Drug Discovery and Development (H3D) Foundation, more research is needed to determine how the African science and innovation community can be scaled up to enable the continent’s R&D to respond to local health challenges more effectively.

The webinar provided examples of South Africa’s productive collaborations between academia, government, and industry in the area of drug development.

The ecosystem we want to create should be centred around locally produced solutions. We are aware that the public healthcare system and the ecosystem for health innovation in Africa face many difficulties, such as restricted access to medications, competitive technologies, a lack of a critical mass of skilled workers, and insufficient funding.

African Union members agreed to dedicate 1% of their GDP to research and development in 2006. This is still not the case, though. African nations continue to grossly underfund their R&D initiatives.

A UNESCO report claims that despite an increase in science spending globally over the previous five years, no African nation devotes 1% of its GDP to research and development. The report also emphasises that even though Africa is home to 16.1% of the world’s population, there are only 1.3% of researchers there.

Although we still have a lot of work to do, we have made some progress. We’ve discovered that strengthening current capabilities and fostering collaborations are the most effective ways to address these issues.

The Holistic Drug Discovery and Development (H3D) Centre, which I oversee, offers ways for research institutions to cooperate and coordinate their efforts in order to take advantage of our various strengths and pool funding.

Through partnerships and industry- and academic-led mentoring, we have learned over the past five years that we can transform and strengthen the capacity of historically underprivileged institutions in South Africa as well as successfully expand the drug discovery community across the continent.

I was happy to hear Elizabeth V. Mumbi Kigondu, Principal Research Scientist at Kenya’s Medical Research Institute and Director of the Center for Traditional Medicine and Drug Research, say during our webinar that this “will allow us to ensure that we have medicines and products coming from Africans and solve African health problems.”

We recently joined forces with the University of Limpopo and the University of Venda on a tuberculosis (TB) research initiative, building on these partnership models, in order to promote local TB research and quicken capacity development at these historically underprivileged institutions.

H3D is addressing the challenges in capacity building by training local scientists and cultivating a skilled workforce. To drive healthcare innovation in Africa, H3D has partnered with J&J Satellite Centre for Global Health Discovery to harness the best scientific talent in Africa and mentor them in boosting H3D’s antimicrobial resistance (AMR) drug discovery portfolio.

These mentorship programmes foster a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship that encourages the development of new technologies, products and services. The key to driving healthcare innovation in Africa is in strengthening human resources through science mentorship.

After highlighting the significance of alliances and collaborations in African R&D innovation, it is equally important to talk about the function of monetary investment in this industry as it provides access to resources that foster R&D, technology transfer, and entrepreneurship.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) recently awarded funding to H3D to increase the production of pharmaceuticals in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The money provided by MATRIX will go towards a pilot project that will assess new technological solutions for the economically viable production of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) in South Africa.

Despite being highly developed and producing more than half of the final pharmaceutical products used locally, South Africa lacks the ability to synthesise and produce APIs.

In order to overcome this obstacle, H3D has teamed up with a global team of scientists and a regional API manufacturer, Chemical Process Technologies (CPT) Pharma, to create a novel strategy that, if it is successful, could revolutionise the production of pharmaceuticals in South Africa and the rest of the continent.

This partnership will make it easier to transfer technologies and develop workers’ on-the-job skills. It also plays a key role in sparking new industrial growth, which is essential for utilising South Africa’s large labour pool.

Although there is no magic solution, these examples show the kinds of health innovations that the continent can develop when vested interests are aligned towards the same objectives, especially in light of Africa’s persistent manufacturing shortage and the pressing need to scale up R&D activities.

Africa’s capacity for R&D and innovation will rise with continued funding and support for science, research, and development, which will advance efforts to provide all people with high-quality healthcare.