Investigator with the Global Fund
to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria
In developing countries, especially in Africa, technology acts as an effective catalyst for social development, revolutionising healthcare in particular. Collecting data in real time enables public health bodies such as the WHO to deliver suitable and timely responses, even in the most hard-to-reach areas. Digital health opens access to quality healthcare, which in the past was only available in societies with the most comprehensive medical knowledge and effective systems. It’s also making the work of health professionals easier, in particular by raising awareness of major public health issues, such as vaccinations and smoking, supporting prevention, for example with health text-messaging programmes as with the current Covid-19 pandemic, and providing remote health services via telemedicine. Nonetheless, Africa still suffers from glaring inequalities in digital access. For example, 56% of people in South Africa use the internet compared with 1% of people in Eritrea. It is essential to reduce such inequalities and provide everyone with key digital services.
The Orange group’s purpose “to give everyone the keys to a responsible digital world” targets all countries and all populations. In Orange’s 18 operating countries in the Middle East and Africa, the Group can set the example and lead a business strategy that’s people-focused and positions social development and the well-being of populations as a priority. By setting up ever-more international partnerships in both the public and private sectors, telecoms companies must spearhead the digital revolution and ensure it serves the common good. The 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals calling for global action in the areas of education, health, social inclusion and the environment will be impossible to achieve without universal access to powerful digital tools, and without these tools being distributed fairly across all populations.
Sabrina Ritossa Fernandez
“We would approve of a clear and genuine commitment.”