A prominent scientist has praised the upsurge in the use of modern information technology in Botswana to improve the health of its citizens.
Dr. Budzanani Tacheba, director of cluster development within the Botswana Innovation Hub -Science and Technology Park
, said he is encouraged by the strong public-private partnership. He said it has led to an increase in innovation that has improved the health of the people of Botswana.
“We see a lot of interest currently, especially from institutions that come in to do research, that come in with new initiatives. In terms of how do you roll out healthcare by using new technologies including E-health [combined use of electronic communication and information technology in the health sector] and mobile health applications,” said Tacheba.
He said the government should be encouraged to heavily invest in the country’s health research.
“We still have a long way to go in terms of convincing government to invest especially financial resources into uplifting or building on current initiatives that may be done from the private sector perspective. To ensure that government embraces them and uplifts them to be nationally relevant or nationally oriented applications for the health sector,” said Tacheba.
He said Botswana Innovation Hub -Science and Technology Park has outlined a number of solutions to resolving challenges to improve healthcare delivery.
“We believe that there [are] a number of initiatives that can be done that [could] curb future issues around the health system. That is why we are trying to leverage more on our ICT [information and communications technology] development program, to ensure that we can implement specific initiatives that would have a long term sustainable model for the healthcare system in the country,” said Tacheba.
The Botswana Innovative Hub was established by the government as a means to drive what it describes as the Botswana Excellence Strategy. The hub reports directly to President Ian Khama. Its objectives include attracting research and development activities of leading multinational corporations.
“We have been given the task of providing feed back to the government in terms of what we think are the most innovative ways of improving government programs across the board,” said Tacheba. “We have the edge to ensuring that we push our agenda into different ministries including the ministry of health, into delivering the healthcare services primarily from the key initiatives around utilizing ICT as a driver to some of the initiatives.
Tacheba spoke on the topics of innovative financing and public and private funding strategies at the recently ended Council on Health Research and Development Group (COHRED) 2012 forum in Cape Town, South Africa.