On Wednesday 4th of July, we participated in Merck’s inaugural Lagos eHealth Meetup.
The goals of the meetup were to provide a platform for conversations around the challenges and solutions in scaling health innovations in West Africa and to serve as a meetup for startups and game-changers in the health sector. DRASA believes in using technology and innovation to solve complex health sector challenges (especially as it relates to preventing the spread of disease!) so we were happy to be invited to participate.
The diverse group of attendees included startups involved in pharmaceutical solutions, payment solutions, health communications, health service delivery, disease prevention, and more.
Merck, represented by Dolapo Bakare, hosted this event to promote their Accelerator Program: an initiative to connect startups to an enabling environment, which will make their ideas grow and scale up.
The theme of the event was “Scaling eHealth Innovations in West Africa: Digitizing an Offline Industry.” As part of the meetup, there was a panel discussion with the following panelists:
Niniola Soleye spoke about our work at DRASA and how our work benefits from leveraging innovations and technologies that are often developed by startups. From using technology to aid healthworkers in remote areas diagnose infectious diseases, to analyzing social media and online trends to predict outbreaks, to crowdsourcing platforms that monitor the spread of diseases in communities, there are so many ways that technology helps us prevent and prepare for infectious disease outbreaks.
The takeaway from all three panelists was that when creating a solution, it is more important to work from the problem up, than to work from the solution down. You must make sure you identify the ‘right’ solution to meet the needs of your stakeholders. That is why the most successful innovations tend to be solutions that are flexible and tailored to the audience and context in which they are being delivered.
The main panel was followed by 3 breakout sessions which enabled participants to have deeper discussions in smaller groups.
Overall, it was a great opportunity to network and learn about ways other organizations – particularly eHealth startups – are contributing to the health sector. It’s clear that when health meets technology, more people have better access to healthcare and communities can remain healthy and safe.
If you have an early stage startup based in West Africa, or you are working at the cutting edge of innovation and would like to solve real-life problems, we encourage you to apply to the Merck Accelerator Program. We can all contribute to solving health sector problems in the region.