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The Covid19 outbreak: a catalyst for digitization in African countries

The Covid19 outbreak: a catalyst for digitization in African countries Bensbih et al. Journal of the Egyptian Public Health Association (2020) 95:17 Journal of the Egyptian https://doi.org/10.1186/s42506-020-00047-w Public Health Association LETTER TO THE EDITOR Open Access The Covid19 outbreak: a catalyst for digitization in African countries 1* 2 2 Said Bensbih , Hajar Essangri and Amine Souadka To the Editor: On the other hand, with less than one physician per Digital health use in some African countries has thousand people [5], doctor shortage in Africa is a chal- prompted a significant transformation [1] and we would lenge that technology could solve. Digital health will en- like to underline the Covid-19 outbreak’s role as a able remote chronic disease follow-up, multidisciplinary catalyst for digital health growth in Africa. video conference meetings, and specialized consults for The Covid-19 outbreak is the global health crisis of hospitalized patients. This will compensate for the lack the century with 210 affected countries and 10,599,620 of resources and healthcare infrastructures alongside million confirmed cases [2]. Alongside the human cost, allowing for an even distribution of health services. In the pandemic has taken a heavy toll on societies, inter- addition, as digital literacy is increased by the current national economy, and healthcare systems worldwide. circumstances, patients’ acceptance of remote health Containment measures were enforced to mitigate this services will also change. impact, especially in countries with fragile health sys- The current crisis, although putting strain on health tems since slowing infection spread is the main method systems worldwide, has allowed for the accelerated im- to tackle this crisis. plementation of digital strategies in health services. This As schools and offices are closing, digitalization is key increased technology use can help breach healthcare in- to survive. Remote work, E-learning, and the use of on- equities and be a step forward towards a more universal line services on an everyday basis are becoming the new health coverage in an ever changing medicine. norms, and digitization initiatives, such as the Morocco Acknowledgements Digital Transformation Strategy [3] are fast tracked. Not applicable Similarly, to reduce hospital-related transmission and infection, hospital organization and patient management Authors’ contributions are also shifting. SB, HE, and AS contributed in writing, revision, and finalization of this article. All authors read and approved the final manuscript. In medicine, the current situation revealed the possi- bility of harnessing the power of digital technology to Authors’ information fight the pandemic and benefit health systems in the SB is currently a researcher at Hassan II University, Casablanca, working on long run [4]. Telemedicine is increasingly used with pa- the virtualization of hospitals’ supply chains. He had been working with the Moroccan Health Ministry and several multinational ICT companies. AS is a tients’ fear of contagion pushing them to avoid hospitals Senior Surgeon and Medical University Professor. HE is a doctor in medicine and as lockdown hinders normal consults. In Morocco, and a researcher within the National Institute of Oncology. the ministry of health launched a free telemedicine plat- form to allow remote medical care in these times, and Funding similar initiatives were adopted by a wide range of There is no funding for this study. African countries. Technology is also implemented in Availability of data and materials appointment booking and triage of possible Covid-19 Not applicable contacts. Ethics approval and consent to participate Not applicable * Correspondence: said.bensbih@ensem.ac.ma Laboratory of Mechanics, Production and Industrial Engineering (LMPGI), University Hassan II of Casablanca, ESTC, ENSEM, Casablanca, Morocco Consent for publication Full list of author information is available at the end of the article Not applicable © The Author(s). 2020 Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/. Bensbih et al. Journal of the Egyptian Public Health Association (2020) 95:17 Page 2 of 2 Competing interests All authors confirmed that they have no conflict of interest. Author details Laboratory of Mechanics, Production and Industrial Engineering (LMPGI), University Hassan II of Casablanca, ESTC, ENSEM, Casablanca, Morocco. Surgical Oncology Department, National Institute of Oncology, University Mohammed V, Rabat, Morocco. Received: 11 May 2020 Accepted: 25 June 2020 References 1. Holst C, Sukums F, Radovanovic D, Ngowi B, Noll J, Winkler AS. Sub-Saharan Africa—the new breeding ground for global digital health. The Lancet Digital Health. 2020:e160–2. https://doi.org/10.1016/s2589-7500(20)30027-3. 2. Coronavirus deaths worldwide by country | Statista. In: Statista [Internet]. [cited July 1st, 2010]. Available from: https://www.statista.com/statistics/1 043366/novel-coronavirus-2019ncov-cases-worldwide-by-country/. 3. UNESCO: Stratégie Maroc Digital 2020. Website. [cited 6 May 2020]. Available from: https://en.unesco.org/creativity/periodic-reports/measures/ strategie-maroc-digital-2020. 4. WHO: Digital technology for COVID-19 response. Website. [cited 6 May 2020]. Available from: https://www.who.int/news-room/detail/03-04-2020-digital- technology-for-covid-19-response. 5. World Bank Data: Physicians (per 1,000 people) | Word Bank Open Data. [cited 6 May 2020]. Available from: https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SH. MED.PHYS.ZS. Publisher’sNote Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of the Egyptian Public Health Association Springer Journals

The Covid19 outbreak: a catalyst for digitization in African countries

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Abstract

Bensbih et al. Journal of the Egyptian Public Health Association (2020) 95:17 Journal of the Egyptian https://doi.org/10.1186/s42506-020-00047-w Public Health Association LETTER TO THE EDITOR Open Access The Covid19 outbreak: a catalyst for digitization in African countries 1* 2 2 Said Bensbih , Hajar Essangri and Amine Souadka To the Editor: On the other hand, with less than one physician per Digital health use in some African countries has thousand people [5], doctor shortage in Africa is a chal- prompted a significant transformation [1] and we would lenge that technology could solve. Digital health will en- like to underline the Covid-19 outbreak’s role as a able remote chronic disease follow-up, multidisciplinary catalyst for digital health growth in Africa. video conference meetings, and specialized consults for The Covid-19 outbreak is the global health crisis of hospitalized patients. This will compensate for the lack the century with 210 affected countries and 10,599,620 of resources and healthcare infrastructures alongside million confirmed cases [2]. Alongside the human cost, allowing for an even distribution of health services. In the pandemic has taken a heavy toll on societies, inter- addition, as digital literacy is increased by the current national economy, and healthcare systems worldwide. circumstances, patients’ acceptance of remote health Containment measures were enforced to mitigate this services will also change. impact, especially in countries with fragile health sys- The current crisis, although putting strain on health tems since slowing infection spread is the main method systems worldwide, has allowed for the accelerated im- to tackle this crisis. plementation of digital strategies in health services. This As schools and offices are closing, digitalization is key increased technology use can help breach healthcare in- to survive. Remote work, E-learning, and the use of on- equities and be a step forward towards a more universal line services on an everyday basis are becoming the new health coverage in an ever changing medicine. norms, and digitization initiatives, such as the Morocco Acknowledgements Digital Transformation Strategy [3] are fast tracked. Not applicable Similarly, to reduce hospital-related transmission and infection, hospital organization and patient management Authors’ contributions are also shifting. SB, HE, and AS contributed in writing, revision, and finalization of this article. All authors read and approved the final manuscript. In medicine, the current situation revealed the possi- bility of harnessing the power of digital technology to Authors’ information fight the pandemic and benefit health systems in the SB is currently a researcher at Hassan II University, Casablanca, working on long run [4]. Telemedicine is increasingly used with pa- the virtualization of hospitals’ supply chains. He had been working with the Moroccan Health Ministry and several multinational ICT companies. AS is a tients’ fear of contagion pushing them to avoid hospitals Senior Surgeon and Medical University Professor. HE is a doctor in medicine and as lockdown hinders normal consults. In Morocco, and a researcher within the National Institute of Oncology. the ministry of health launched a free telemedicine plat- form to allow remote medical care in these times, and Funding similar initiatives were adopted by a wide range of There is no funding for this study. African countries. Technology is also implemented in Availability of data and materials appointment booking and triage of possible Covid-19 Not applicable contacts. Ethics approval and consent to participate Not applicable * Correspondence: said.bensbih@ensem.ac.ma Laboratory of Mechanics, Production and Industrial Engineering (LMPGI), University Hassan II of Casablanca, ESTC, ENSEM, Casablanca, Morocco Consent for publication Full list of author information is available at the end of the article Not applicable © The Author(s). 2020 Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/. Bensbih et al. Journal of the Egyptian Public Health Association (2020) 95:17 Page 2 of 2 Competing interests All authors confirmed that they have no conflict of interest. Author details Laboratory of Mechanics, Production and Industrial Engineering (LMPGI), University Hassan II of Casablanca, ESTC, ENSEM, Casablanca, Morocco. Surgical Oncology Department, National Institute of Oncology, University Mohammed V, Rabat, Morocco. Received: 11 May 2020 Accepted: 25 June 2020 References 1. Holst C, Sukums F, Radovanovic D, Ngowi B, Noll J, Winkler AS. Sub-Saharan Africa—the new breeding ground for global digital health. The Lancet Digital Health. 2020:e160–2. https://doi.org/10.1016/s2589-7500(20)30027-3. 2. Coronavirus deaths worldwide by country | Statista. In: Statista [Internet]. [cited July 1st, 2010]. Available from: https://www.statista.com/statistics/1 043366/novel-coronavirus-2019ncov-cases-worldwide-by-country/. 3. UNESCO: Stratégie Maroc Digital 2020. Website. [cited 6 May 2020]. Available from: https://en.unesco.org/creativity/periodic-reports/measures/ strategie-maroc-digital-2020. 4. WHO: Digital technology for COVID-19 response. Website. [cited 6 May 2020]. Available from: https://www.who.int/news-room/detail/03-04-2020-digital- technology-for-covid-19-response. 5. World Bank Data: Physicians (per 1,000 people) | Word Bank Open Data. [cited 6 May 2020]. Available from: https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SH. MED.PHYS.ZS. Publisher’sNote Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

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Journal of the Egyptian Public Health AssociationSpringer Journals

Published: Aug 8, 2020

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