The first day of the African eHealth landmark event, eHealthALIVE2016, has brought together key decision makers from Ministries of Health from across the SADC region, as well as South African provincial and national Departments of Health, to share key insights and best practices on how to use health IT to transform and innovate healthcare on the African continent.

Hosted in partnership with Acfee, eHealthNews and MEval-SIFSA, and other sponsors including  HISP, SAHIA, HealthEnabled and Mobenzi, eHealthALIVE2016 is the first conference of its kind dedicated to driving eHealth excellence in Southern Africa.

After a warm welcome to the inaugural event by COO of the South African National Department of Health (SA NDoH), Dr Gail Andrews, conference attendees were addressed by the revered CEO at Frere Regional Hospital, Dr Rolene Wagner, where she used the public hospital as a case study to illustrate the power of information-based decision making to improve the quality of care delivered to patients, and leveraging ICT to establish a Centre of Excellence in public health.

Technical Assistant at the NDoH, Dr Peter Barron, and General Manager at the Praekelt Foundation, Debbie Rogers, discussed how mHealth is changing the health of people in Southern Africa, followed later in the afternoon by a keynote address on Useful Data for Decisions by Executive Director of HISP-SA and HISP-Namibia, Dr Vincent Shaw.

The first Roundtable of the day heard from numerous industry experts sharing their insights into how mHealth initiatives can have the most impact on health and how they can be harnessed to build the health ecosystem. Speakers included Prof De Wet Swanepoel from hearScreen, Warren Lambert from VP Health Systems, Andi Friedman from Mobenzi and Dr Michael Mol from Hello Doctor and was Chaired by COO at HISP, Dr Gugulethu Ngubane.

Three parallel workshops were delivered in the afternoon where attendees had the opportunity to explore projects and issues facing eHealth implementation first-hand, taking a deep dive into the essential topics of Standards and Interoperability, DHIS use-cases from three countries and Africa’s first large-scale mHealth initiative, MomConnect.

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