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Young technologists, experts meet to invent solutions to Gambia’s ailing health sector

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By Tabora Bojang

A group of Gambian young technologists and other seasoned experts gathered last Friday for an intense thinking on how to solve issues underpinning the country’s health sector.
The “HackWeakEnd” annual technology event 2019 is a youth-led social initiative under the auspices of Open-Source Academy that uses unique Hackathon series and technology based events to solve issues affecting sectors in our society.
This year’s event was organised with special emphasis on the health sector, and brought together young technologists, industry experts and students under the theme “Health is Wealth”.

The stakeholders looked into creative ways on how information and communication technologies can solve problems affecting the Gambia’s health sector.
Speaking at the opening event, the director of planning at the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Gibril Jarju, said the global focus of the ministry is to provide healthcare and protection to all residents of The Gambia, noting that ICT could play a significant step towards realising this drive.
According to him, ICT could play a critical role in improving The Gambia’s health sector and its management issues, and enhance socio-economic development of the country.
He said access to healthcare is a fundamental human right, saying it should be accorded to every individual.

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“The Gambia government is fully committed and striving in the right direction to achieve this,” he stated.
“HackWeakEnd” founder Olawale Fabiyi, said the sole aim of the event was to discuss “real worth problems for real worth solutions” to solve problems confronting our society.
Olawale said the motive of the ‘HackWeakEnd’ 2019 was to help solve issues and problems in sectors and industries in The Gambia.

“There are so many issues facing the continent and we do not have to wait for outsiders to come in and solve our problems. That is why we decide to go into this programme to build solutions to our health concerns,” the founder explained to the audience.
He further told the participants that they are now expected to build solutions that will help the healthcare sector and its report would be incorporated into the youth empowerment project start-up programme.

“Technology is an enabler of sectors and can make everything better, so at the end of the day it is not about the tool but how you can get to harness these problems and solve them,” Olawale said.
David Asabina from German technology and software giant’s Asabina GMBH, said technology is an important driving factor in fostering development, adding that there are a lot of young talents in The Gambia who could be ‘activated to build solutions’ the sector need.

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He said information management plays a huge role to the betterment of healthy healthcare systems for many developing countries across the world.

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