14 December 2022
KIGALI – The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and private sector partners officially launched the Digital Health Impact Accelerator (DHIA), a US$50 million catalytic fund designed to accelerate countries’ digital health transformation in sub-Saharan Africa.
The announcement was made at the Africa HealthTech Summit in Kigali, Rwanda, on the sidelines of the 2nd International Conference on Public Health in Africa.
Backed by a coalition of partners, the DHIA catalytic fund will support countries to accelerate and scale up digital health solutions through more widespread internet access, strengthened information systems for data sharing, extensive use of mobile technologies, patient-centric digital tools, and unique patient IDs, among others. The Global Fund will also continue to bring together private sector partners to help build local capacity on data- and technology-enabled innovations that strengthen African health systems.
“The Global Fund has played a key role in strengthening digital health systems and health data in low- and middle-income countries since its inception; these tools are critical to defeat infectious diseases and prevent future health threats,” said Rob Cryer, Country Technology Services Manager at the Global Fund and Lead for the DHIA. “Today we are excited to join forces with our partners in the DHIA to leverage private sector funding, expertise and innovation. This will help further strengthen regional and global data systems and surveillance capacity for data-driven decision-making, enable better patient care, and transform millions of lives.”
The DHIA has already received financial pledges from Anglo American with US$15 million, from the Patrick J. McGovern Foundation with US$1 million, as well as in-kind commitments valued at more than US$23 million from Dimagi, Medic, Medtronic LABS, the Novartis Foundation, Orange and Zenysis. On top of these commitments, the Global Fund intends to invest an additional US$15 million, bringing the total investment capacity of the DHIA to more than US$50 million.
“Digital health is not only the key to improving health systems, but also to delivering quality care to the most vulnerable people,” said Anglo American Kumba Chief Executive Mpumi Zikalala. “Through our investment and contribution to the design of the Digital Health Impact Accelerator, the most vulnerable groups – particularly women and children – will be able to access the right care at the right time.”
“Investments in digital infrastructure are critical to designing strong, resilient health systems, but must be designed with people and communities at the center,” said Vilas Dhar, President of the Patrick J. McGovern Foundation. “We are proud to partner with the Global Fund and the DHIA to support the leadership of countries across sub-Saharan Africa in realizing this vision.”
The DHIA builds upon the foundational investments and key learnings of the Data Science Catalytic Fund, supported by The Rockefeller Foundation, which aims to improve the collection and use of community health data in Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Rwanda and Uganda, by strengthening health data systems and equipping frontline health workers with digital tools.
“Every day, leaders across the globe face tough choices about how best to protect their communities,” said Dr. Naveen Rao, Senior Vice President of Health at The Rockefeller Foundation. “Well-functioning data systems can help them make faster, fairer decisions based on timely insights. Ultimately, better information leads to better health – and that’s why we’re pleased to see the Global Fund build on our catalytic investment to accelerate digital transformation in health systems across Africa.”
In Kigali, the Global Fund also announced, through the Data Science Catalytic Fund, and with the Novartis Foundation, its commitment to co-fund the next cohort of entrepreneurs at the HealthTech Hub Africa, an exciting platform supporting domestic healthtech entrepreneurs.
The Global Fund is one of the key funders of countries’ health management information systems (HMIS) in Africa, with investments totaling US$244 million in the current grant cycle.