Strategies for Effective Health Care for Africa in the Fourth Industrial Revolution: Bridging the Gap between the Promise and Delivery

Past investments in health care have contributed to the overall improvement of health outcomes in recent decades in Africa, but the persistent high incidence and mortality rates of infectious and non-communicable diseases reveals that there is still more to be done. Now, Africa’s health care sector has immense potential to benefit from Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) investments and innovations to bridge the gap between health care promise and delivery, including capitalizing on the solutions provided by disruptive technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, big data analytics, 3Dprinting, the Internet of Things, automated vehicles and drones, cloud computing, and blockchain technologies. Indeed, investments in health-related 4IR technologies could have the great returns in terms of business, and, more importantly, health outcomes, contributing to the protection of a fundamental human right (health) while fostering economic prosperity and sustainable development. The 4IR offers efficient and effective ways to carry out public health measures to both improve health care outcomes and overcome crises such as COVID-19, Ebola, and other widespread diseases at various levels of cost, scope, and scalability. This report first discusses the key trends in health in Africa. Second, it explores recurring challenges and policy constraints to effective health care. Third, it provides trends and illustrations of emerging technologies and innovation of the Fourth Industrial Revolution in healthcare in Africa. Fourth, it presents seven effective strategies and policy options for bridging the gap between the promise and delivery in Africa’s health care with the Fourth Industrial Revolution.