DAR ES SALAAM, March 27 (Xinhua) -- Tanzanian Vice-President Samia Suluhu Hassan on Wednesday urged the East African Community (EAC) member countries to invest in digital technology to accelerate implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Hassan said digital health technology also stood a better chance of strengthening regional healthcare services and addressing all aspects of poverty.
"We can no longer ignore the direct correlation of poverty and social vulnerability in aggravating poor health," she said when opening the 7th East African Health and Scientific Conference at the Julius Nyerere International Convention Center in the business capital Dar es Salaam.
She said Tanzania has already embarked on digitizing its healthcare system through the Ministry of Health and several other agencies to help track medicine consignment from purchase point to delivery point and online reporting of the adverse effects of the use of medicine and cosmetics.
"We have recorded positive impact of our healthcare sector since we embarked on digitizing our systems," she told the conference that has attracted researchers and scientists from the east African region, Africa and beyond the continent.
However, the Vice-President said challenges still remained in having adequate manpower to support these initiatives and funds to train new manpower and come up with new initiatives.
Gibson Kibiki, the Executive Secretary of the East African Health Research Commission, said digital health technology could improve health governance as well as access to quality and effective delivery of health services.
"The rapid increase to mobile technology in Africa has fostered a conducive environment for the use of information and communication technology in health," he told the conference themed Technology for Health Systems Transformation and Attainment of the UN-Sustainable Development Goals in East Africa.
Kibiki added that over the last 15 years, east Africa has witnessed an expansion of digital health across the entire health sector.
Alongside the three-day conference, an international health exhibition held by research institutions, health care facilities, medical/health academic institutions, medical and pharmaceutical industries, EAC organs and institutions, international organizations and UN agencies was showcasing their services and products.
The exhibition allowed participants to showcase products from research, academia, healthcare services and the health sector in general.