Building Africa’s Frontline Readiness: Legal considerations for the healthtech sector
The imminent rolling out of test, track, trace mobile phone applications as a means of managing the COVID- 19 pandemic could provide a long-lasting tool to manage future outbreaks. However, they and other healthtech innovations come with particular challenges on a continent with low smartphone usage, expensive data, poor power supply, and lack of enabling regulatory environments.
- What are the existing frameworks for healthtech and medtech registration and innovation on the continent and where is good practice already in evidence?
- How can the medtech and healthtech sectors engage with policymakers?
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Existing healthtech services on the continent largely target the small proportion of the population that can already afford healthcare. The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has led to an increase in innovation in the African healthtech sector as the outbreak has laid bare the state of healthcare systems, the welfare of professionals, and the vulnerability of an overstretched system.
Supporting the growth of an inclusive healthtech sector and start-ups that address wider public health issues is critical for the future. Academic institutions are important actors in facilitating effective and innovative responses as are the legal sector and other professional services support to start-ups and SMEs in the sector. Is it likely that the healthtech sector will witness more investment from both public and private actors despite the overall reduction in tech investment projected for the foreseeable future?