AstraZeneca, a leading global pharmaceutical company, has launched the Africa Health Innovation Hub. This initiative demonstrates the company’s commitment to healthcare equity and partnerships with various stakeholders, including governments, healthcare societies, academia, healthcare providers, and patient advocacy groups, to enhance patient outcomes. The hub builds on AstraZeneca’s work in Africa, aiming to leverage the latest science and technology to improve healthcare access for patients on the continent.
The Africa Health Innovation Hub is part of the A. Catalyst Network, which consists of over 20 connected hubs worldwide. This network seeks to tackle current healthcare challenges through collaborative innovation, promote affordable and equitable healthcare access, and amplify patient-centered innovation through strategic alliances within the healthcare ecosystem.
In 2022, AstraZeneca joined the WEF Edison Alliance, a public-private partnership that aims to improve the lives of 1 billion people through digital inclusion by 2025. This partnership reinforces the company’s commitment to using digital innovation to drive inclusion and equity across the healthcare ecosystem and will serve as a facilitator for the Africa Hub.
Improving access to healthcare
Gagan Singh, Country President, African Cluster, AstraZeneca, stated that the company aims to future-proof health systems across the entire patient journey, ensuring equitable and affordable access to life-changing healthcare solutions for everyone, regardless of their location. The launch of the Africa Health Innovation Hub is a significant step toward unlocking digital transformation and innovation in health across the continent, paving the way for patient-centric digital health solutions that leave no one behind. Through partnerships across the continent, AstraZeneca is nurturing local talent and making quality healthcare more accessible to all.
In its initial phases, the Africa Health Innovation Hub will form two major partnerships in Africa. In South Africa, AstraZeneca is partnering with MEDSOL AI SOLUTIONS to promote the use of AI in disease detection through a state-of-the-art Wi-Fi ultrasound probe that can detect breast cancer in seconds. The Melusi Breast AI rapid detection app will be rolled out in rural clinics to improve early detection of the disease, supported by a dedicated referral system to offer a quicker turnaround time for therapeutic intervention for women with positive detection of breast cancer. In Kenya, the company is expanding its collaboration with Tricog Health Limited to enhance early diagnosis and treatment of Heart Failure using Tricog’s InstaECG AI tools for rapid diagnosis.
Another partnership initiated last year, the Fuel Africa programme, launched by Futurize, will officially form part of the Africa Health Innovation Hub. This is the largest healthcare entrepreneurship programme on the continent, bringing together the brightest minds across universities in Sub-Saharan Africa to address some of Africa’s most pressing challenges in healthcare. For the second year in a row, AstraZeneca’s A. Catalyst Network partnered with Futurize to reinforce its commitment to fostering innovation in the continent by developing local talents.
The official launch event took place at the Daspoort Poli Clinic in Pretoria, South Africa, marking the launch of the hub and the kickoff of the Medsol AI partnership. The Africa Health Innovation Hub will also invest in building local talent, promoting policy change for cancer screening, closing the gaps in healthcare access, and improving the quality of life for patients in the African region, particularly in rural and underserved communities. These objectives align with the four pillars of AstraZeneca’s A. Catalyst Network: Education and Awareness, Early Diagnosis and Referral, Connectivity and Technology, and Data Generation.