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Why the world needs to see Africa’s healthcare system change – from the ground up.

Nigerians spend an estimated US $200 million dollars a year on foreign healthcare, while less than 5% of the country’s population is under any sort of domestic medical plan.

Like much of Africa, the Nigerian healthcare system suffers from a complex range of issues such as limited access, poor infrastructure, limited qualified healthcare providers, and poor data management. Mental healthcare especially suffers due to lack of resources, widespread misinformation, social stigma, poor government funding, and corruption.

Thankfully, these and other issues are being addressed throughout the Impact Hub network – having reached 150 million people worldwide. In Africa in particular, healthcare innovation is building real momentum. And we feel this has yet to be substantially addressed in the mainstream media.

We believe in giving visibility to local innovators working to change the healthcare industry (and the economy) for the better. Why? Because research finds that implementing Westernized solutions often fails from a lack of nuanced cultural understanding. The real solution is already in motion. And it’s coming from entrepreneurs at Impact Hubs across the continent.

How they’re making it happen.

Over the last few years, we have seen rapid growth in social entrepreneurship and innovation across Africa. (Right now the 8 up and running African Impact Hubs reach almost 50,000 people through their combined communities, online engagement has increased by over 40% since September 2017, and our Impact Report revealed that incubators and accelerators are the most valued resources for innovators in the region.)

This growth is a direct result of on-the-ground entrepreneurs demanding the resources and infrastructures that will allow them to innovate. For instance:

What these stories have in common is that they involve grassroots organizations, working together to develop Africa’s healthcare system – and its entrepreneurial ecosystem in turn. While the continent’s reputation for innovation continues to grow in the eyes of the developed world (especially since re:publica festival has chosen Accra as its first-ever non-European destination for December 2018) the healthcare industry across Africa thrives as well.

For instance, a group of innovators in Nigeria has catalyzed change in the healthcare ecosystem with an inaugural healthcare roundtable in September 2018. Held in Impact Hub Lagos, which is still just one year old, the event investigated different approaches and solutions to the most pressing issues in healthcare across Africa right now – including mental health.

Focussing on tangible, grassroots solutions to what is being presented as a healthcare epidemic, this roundtable event began to map out the state of healthcare in the region, which will contribute to a report that providing a foundation on which to drastically improve the healthcare ecosystem across Africa.

Why now.

Because this issue is so complex (crossing cultural, political, economic and social boundaries) we believe that this is exactly the kind of locally-driven innovation that needs to be represented more in the media today; news that will inspire people across the continent to make some positive change.

Broadly speaking, picturing healthcare in Africa right now means picturing high infant mortality rates, low doctor-patient ratios, and billions of dollars in medical tourism to name just a few. But this is changing. And we believe that the media’s coverage of African healthcare needs to reflect that too.

About Impact Hub

Impact Hub is a global network focused on building communities for impact at scale. With 100+ communities of 16,000+ change-driven entrepreneurs in more than 50 countries across five continents, Impact Hub is one of the world’s largest community and accelerator for positive change.

Impact Hub builds ecosystems to drive collaboration and entrepreneurial innovation around the Global Sustainable Development Goals through locally rooted Impact Hubs, as well as with partners and allied networks.

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