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The Digital Imperative: Reconfiguring Global Health in Africa 
Edwin Ameso (University Leipzig)
Marian Burchardt (University of Leipzig)
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Edwin Ameso (University Leipzig)
Marian Burchardt (University of Leipzig)
Gift Mwonzora (University of Free State)
Social media, archiving and ‘the digital’
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S66 (RW I)
Tuesday 1 October, -, -
Time zone: Europe/Berlin
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Short Abstract:

In Africa, a political imperative is shaping the uptake of digital technologies to leapfrog decades-long infrastructural challenges in care trajectories. In this panel, we explore these technologies taunted as enablers for sustainable development as they connect citizens to health services.

Long Abstract:

Digital health technologies have become a core component of health development agendas, notably Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and the aim to reduce health inequalities. Correspondingly, over the past decade there have been massive investments in the digitization of healthcare on a global scale. Nourishing widespread fantasies of infrastructural leapfrogging, many policymakers and experts extol such technical solutions as the idealized panacea for the continent’s economic and administrative problems. For all these reasons, the uptake of digital technologies such as drones, Internet of things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI) has turned into a new political imperative. Nonetheless, little is known about how and in which ways these technologies change access to healthcare on the ground. In this panel, we explore how digital technologies and infrastructures reconfigure access to health services, wherein global technologies fuse with local realities and historical legacies in the Global South to improve lives, create jobs, connect off-the-grid citizens and re-imagine care trajectories. Specifically, we explore how these emerging digital technologies and infrastructures compete, complement and leapfrog historical challenges to provide health as a public good and service from poor countries, often in the wake of unprecedented logistical challenges, labour concerns, and widespread lack of political commitment and subsequent de-investments in healthcare systems particularly in Africa. In this panel, we also aim to explore how digital technologies and infrastructures shape access to life-saving commodities and essential medicines to citizens. We invite papers from a variety of disciplines including sociology, anthropology, geography, political science and international relations.

Accepted papers:

Session 1 Tuesday 1 October, 2024, -
Session 2 Tuesday 1 October, 2024, -