BroadReach Group

The new frontier of social innovation to accelerate progress towards Sustainable Development Goal 3 (SDG 3)

BroadReach Group
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In the evolving landscape of global health, digital innovation is emerging as a beacon of hope, pushing the boundaries of what is possible in terms of healthcare access, quality, and affordability. A recent World Economic Forum white paper, produced in collaboration with the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, EY, and Microsoft, sheds light on an exciting paradigm shift: the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) into social innovation, particularly in healthcare. The adoption of AI has the potential to improve immunization programs, supply chains, referrals, diagnoses, drug safety, and overall healthcare system efficiency.

The report identifies three key impact areas where AI is making significant contributions:

  • Healthcare, with 25% of innovators using AI to improve access to healthcare;
  • Environmental sustainability, with 20% of social innovators applying AI to address climate solutions; and
  • Economic empowerment, which is particularly prevalent in low-income countries, where 80% of all livelihood-improving initiatives are concentrated.

Healthcare is by far the most widespread impact domain that social innovators are addressing with AI. As a result, 1 in 4 social innovators are implementing AI to advance Sustainable Development Goal 3, good health and well-being. This is evident across geographies as innovators seek to adopt AI to address multiple challenges in healthcare.

This report features BroadReach Group, a social impact organization that uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to empower healthcare providers, leaders, and institutions to better manage their scarce resources and achieve better health outcomes for all. Vantage Health Technologies, a part of BroadReach Group, is leveraging its work across every continent in the following ways:

  • Using AI in Africa to support large HIV and TB programs by identifying resource gaps and supporting decision-making and targeted actions to address those gaps. This has enabled many districts, particularly in South Africa, with the world’s largest HIV population, to move closer to achieving the UN targets of 95-95-95. The HIV 95-95-95 testing, treatment and viral suppression targets aim to address gaps in HIV coverage and treatment outcomes across all subpopulations, age groups and geographic settings.
  • Vantage provided program oversight for tuberculosis (TB) programs in Africa, providing a single system to manage all key areas. TB outcomes are difficult to manage without a daily view of performance data. Vantage integrated existing feeds from the national health data system to guide active decision making and initiate interventions to address performance, data quality and reporting compliance.
  • A leading NGO in Nigeria that provides prevention, treatment and care for HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria uses AI and predictive analytics in Vantage to prevent missed appointments and bring patients back to care. The outputs are used to prioritize care for high-risk patients and monitor the effectiveness of interventions to proactively highlight areas in need of attention.
  • In the U.S., Vantage addresses the social determinants of health by automating social care coordination for cancer patients. Early results have shown improved patient outcomes, improved equity and financial sustainability, while reducing the administrative burden on the workforce.

Dr. Ernest Darkoh, co-founder of BroadReach Group, says: “The fundamental problem in healthcare, whether you’re in sub-Saharan Africa, Western Europe or the US, is that demand outstrips supply of healthcare services, doctors, nurses and medicines. Healthcare is struggling to maintain an antiquated model of ‘care for the sick’ without real-time information about disease patterns, who is most affected or the adequacy of healthcare resources. We need to change this paradigm to be more effective by leveraging data and digital solutions to ensure that we always spend the next hour and the next dollar in the most impactful way possible.”

Global Collaboration to Achieve Health Equity

The report also shows that Africa is emerging, with leaders like South Africa, Nigeria, and Kenya. Egypt and Kenya have developed national AI strategies. In other countries like Cameroon, individual social innovators are using AI to address health challenges, such as developing low-cost diagnostics for malaria. The continent is also seeing AI applications in economic empowerment and various ML capabilities.

Paul Bhuhi, CEO of Vantage, says: “AI is becoming increasingly accepted, with healthcare leaders seeing the promise of AI to drive real improvements in healthcare access, quality and affordability. However, the education gap between innovators and policy makers inhibits AI adoption. In our experience, Rwanda and Kenya are leading this push, but there is still more to be done.”

An important lesson that BroadReach Group is applying is that learning health care lessons in one country can have a profound global impact through collaboration. By sharing best practices, innovations, and research findings, countries can collectively address common health challenges more effectively. Collaborative efforts enable successful strategies to be adapted to different contexts, promoting improvements in universal health and accelerating progress toward global health goals like SDG 3. This exchange of knowledge fosters a more connected and resilient global health community, where progress in one region benefits all.

Dr. John Sargent, co-founder of BroadReach Group, says, “One example of impact through collaboration is using our experience and learnings in Africa to address health inequities and applying them to advance health equity in cancer care in the United States. Our teams work across geographies, and this collaboration has shown that we can more effectively and rapidly improve patient care through this experience. While each geography and market has its own differences, many of the same core principles, key lessons learned, and approaches apply, allowing us to rapidly adapt and implement solutions that have real impact for populations in need, while ensuring the health system is using its resources most effectively.”

Embracing the ethical adoption of AI

The next generation of ethical generative artificial intelligence (GenAI) offers new hope for more equitable healthcare, but technological advances must never come at the expense of patient rights. AI systems should start with guardrails and ethics at their core design.

Chris LeGrand, CEO of BroadReach Group, notes that “Regulatory frameworks for ethical use of AI in healthcare are still in their early stages, but they are progressing. The new Digital Trade Protocol recently adopted by African heads of state in the Africa Continental Trade Area (AfCTA) is an example of international bodies defining the desired digital landscape with rules based on common principles, including the protection of personal data, while promoting the trustworthy, safe and ethical use of emerging technologies. Regulation is slowly evolving to create trust and confidence in the protection of health data.”

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of BroadReach Group.

BroadReach Group is a group of social impact companies focused on harnessing innovation and technology to empower human action. Since 2003, BroadReach Group has worked in over 30 countries to support governments, international NGOs, the public and private sectors to improve health outcomes for their populations.

This press release was issued by APO. The content is not monitored by the African Business editorial team and none of the content has been checked or validated by our editorial teams, proofreaders or fact checkers. The issuer is solely responsible for the content of this announcement.

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