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Conceptualization and practices in digital health: voices from Africa

Gertjan van Stam


This paper presents voices from Africa on digital health in Africa. These voices were gleaned during interviews and an online, focus group session in May 2020, during which 30 experts across Africa, among others from the South, were asked about their experiences and observations on the conceptualisation of, and practices in, digital health in their respective communities and countries. Extensive input was provided, both orally and textually. The quotes gathered and presented in this paper indicate that there is a distinct need for the respectful co-development of digital health interventions in Africa. In addition, the quotes show how a one-size-fits-all solution approach does not exist, it is not a solution to Africa. Further, the community-focus, fit, and fragmentation of existing activities digital health interventions is questioned. The narratives provide a rich resource indicating capable and local agency and the need to address power-differences in international health development.

Keywords: Digital health; Africa; ethnography.