- October 03, 2023
- 3 min read
In a world where technology is rapidly changing the way we live and work, the field of healthcare is no exception. Innovations in HealthTech are not just about making healthcare more efficient; they are about saving lives, improving patient experiences, and making quality healthcare accessible to all. The Africa Makerspace Network’s recent virtual event, “HealthTech Innovations,” brought together makers, innovators, and healthcare professionals to explore how technology is reshaping the healthcare landscape in Africa and beyond.
Crystal Chigbu: Inspiring Change Through Technology
The event kicked off with an inspiring keynote speech by Crystal Chigbu, the founder of the IREDE Foundation. Her journey began when her daughter was born without a shinbone, leading her to establish a foundation that provides prosthetics and walking aids to children in need. Crystal’s message was clear: ”technology has the power to create positive change”. She urged makers to harness the impact of their work and embrace the innovation that technology brings.
Innovations That Matter
The heart of the event lay in the presentations that followed, showcasing groundbreaking innovations from different corners of Africa:
- A 3D-printed Microcentrifuge, a device crucial for scientific research and diagnostics.
- A Phototherapy machine for babies, a life-saving innovation addressing a critical healthcare need.
- A Fruit Sorting and Disease Detecting Machine, revolutionizing agriculture and food safety.
These innovations not only exhibit the incredible potential of makers in Africa but also highlight their ability to address pressing healthcare challenges through creative and technological solutions.
A Collaborative Focus on Policy
The event also hosted a focus group discussion as part of the African European Maker Innovation Ecosystem (mAkE) project. Led by Freda Gbande from Fabcity Foundation, the discussion centered on common policies in the HealthTech ecosystem. Participants identified key gaps, including the need for quality materials and electronics, improved access to funding in the medical space, and greater recognition and support for makerspaces. The consensus was clear: collaboration and supportive policies are essential to drive HealthTech innovation.
Towards a Common Policy Agenda
The mAkE project’s focus group discussion aimed to gather insights and expertise to create a common policy agenda for makerspaces. The objective is to establish connections between Digital Innovation Hubs (DIHs)/makerspaces and policymaking processes. By collaborating with stakeholders, the project seeks to develop actionable policy recommendations that enhance the growth, collaboration, and impact of makerspaces and digital innovation hubs in both Africa and Europe.
A Call to Action
As we reflect on the event, it’s evident that technology is at the forefront of shaping the future of healthcare. Makers and innovators are driving this transformation, and their potential is limitless. We invite you to join this movement, whether you’re a maker, healthcare professional, or simply passionate about the intersection of technology and healthcare.
How can you get involved?
- Stay Informed: Keep an eye out for the first draft of the policy agenda, which will shape the future of makerspaces in Africa and Europe.
- Collaborate: If you’re part of a makerspace, consider how you can contribute to the policy discussions and advocate for a supportive environment.
- Innovate: Whether you have an idea for a healthcare innovation or are working on one, remember that your work can have a profound impact on improving healthcare!
- Spread the Word: Share the stories of HealthTech innovations and the importance of makerspaces in healthcare transformation with your network.