IFC and Kera Partner to Boost Healthcare Access in West Africa with AI

By : Samira Njoya

Date : mercredi, 29 novembre 2023 13:26

In Africa, the healthcare landscape is plagued by a shortage of adequate infrastructure and qualified medical professionals. This severely hinders accessibility and the quality of healthcare services but, with the advent of artificial intelligence (AI), players hope to alleviate those critical challenges.  

The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector financing arm of the World Bank Group, recently announced a partnership agreement with Senegalese e-health startup Kera Health Platforms, to address the critical shortage of healthcare professionals and facilities in West Africa. This collaboration aims to leverage technology, particularly artificial intelligence (AI), to enhance healthcare accessibility and outcomes for millions of people across the region.

"As Africa stands on the cusp of a demographic boom, harnessing the power of technology in healthcare is not just an opportunity; it is an imperative.[...] Thanks to this collaboration with IFC, we are poised to accelerate the integration of AI, enhancing healthcare accessibility and outcomes across the continent," said Moustapha Cissé, founder and CEO of Kera Health Platforms.

Under the partnership agreement, IFC will provide financial support to Kera to further develop its AI-powered solutions for managing electronic health records (EHRs), lab results, pharmaceutical data, smart medical records, and health insurance products.

According to IFC officials, the initiative is part of the corporation’s investment strategy to address an insufficient number of healthcare professionals and facilities, as well as low health insurance coverage in Africa. "With its boundless potential, the African continent faces an acute healthcare challenge. It bears the weight of one of the lowest doctor-population ratios in the world, with about 1.5 medical professionals per 1,000 individuals. In Senegal, as of 2020, there was an average of less than one physician per 10,000 people," an IFC release explains.  

In such a context, the technology developed through this partnership will significantly improve healthcare delivery at reduced costs by making crucial information readily accessible to patients, healthcare professionals, and other stakeholders. 

Samira Njoya


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