Digital health tech helps China and Africa fight the COVID-19 pandemic

Doctors from Zimbabwe have a video conference with Chinese doctors to exchange experience of fighting the COVID-19 on March 18. [Photo/Xinhua]

Digital technology has played a key role in China’s effective anti-pandemic work and Africa is following China’s lead, experts said Wednesday during an online conference to discuss how China’s digital technology can assist Africa’s COVID-19 fight.

China actively encourages medical institutions and private companies to participate in establishing global anti-epidemic sharing platform. It is helping train medical professionals remotely through cloud technology support, actively publishing various digital epidemic prevention and control manuals, Zhang Yanru, professor of African studies at Zhejiang Normal University, said at the conference, held by the international development agency Development Innovation Insider.

According to the Xinhua News Agency, China and African nations held their first experts’ video conference on COVID-19 prevention and control on March 18. Nearly 300 officials and experts from 24 African countries and the African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention attended the online conference.

AliHealth has established a global sharing platform to fight against COVID-19, launched a medical training program in Africa with the help of the platform and trained more than 3,000 African medical workers.

China and Africa’s digital campaign against COVID-19 has been continuously carried out. African countries are also actively promoting digital technology in their anti-epidemic work.

The Health Ministry of Morocco has established a telemedicine platform which can provide services to patients online. The Nigerian Center for Disease Control and Prevention has set up an IQUBE laboratory that can directly respond to local emergency requests to further slow the spread of COVID-19 in the country, Hannah Ryder, CEO of Development Reimagined, a Kenya consultant agency based in Beijing, said at the conference.

Hannah noted that African countries should learn from China’s digital epidemic experience in light of local conditions.

“Africa’s development of digital technology for the health sector is constrained by weak network infrastructure and equipment access capacity, the lack of adequate development funding for the implementation of digital health programs and the limited digital skills of human resources for health,” Zhang said.

She believes that more extensive communication on fighting against the virus between China and African countries will make great contributions to the international anti-epidemic battle. 

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