ECA: Revamping Africa’s telecoms infrastructure is crucial for digital health services

The Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) released a new paper on the situation of digital health on the continent titled ‘COVID-19 and ICTs in Africa and penned by the Technology, Climate Change & Natural Resource Management Division (TCND)’. The paper sheds light on the challenges of African telecommunication infrastructure to effectively deliver digital health services and possible ways for improvement. To this aim, it underpins the importance of establishing and enabling legal and regulatory frameworks pertinent to cybersecurity, personal data protection and privacy, digital payments, as well as financial technology start-ups. Moreover, the paper promotes the mapping of the information and communications technologies (ICTs) infrastructure for emergency situations to help identify how policies and regulation made it difficult to harness ICTs to respond to the COVID-19 emergency across the continent and thus ensuring flexibility and continuous reform of the regulatory and policy framework in the future.