How AI is transforming public health system management in emerging economies

BroadReach Group Founding Partner Dr John Sargent spoke about the company’s approach at a HIMSS event in Cambridge last month.
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BroadReach & KwaZulu Natal (KZN) Department of Health Staff receiving a certificate of recognition for achieving HIV 90-90-90 targets in Ugu, KZN; Photo credit: Pagiel Chetty

Achieving universal health coverage requires the consistent delivery of high-quality healthcare services at scale, which is itself dependent on a workforce that operates in the most efficient way. In the context of overburdened health systems in emerging economies, however, this is particularly challenging.

To help healthcare leaders better manage their health resources and support improved performance, BroadReach Group has been successfully deploying its proprietary, cutting-edge technology in some of these markets.

In South Africa, the company is working with the Department of Health in the Ugu district of KwaZulu Natal (KZN), as part of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)’s HIV control initiatives, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

Ugu has one of the highest HIV infection rates in the world, with 27% of its population testing HIV positive. In 2019, it achieved the remarkable milestone of meeting its 90-90-90 targets, established by UNAIDS in 2013 to help end the AIDS epidemic, which state that:

  • By 2020, 90% of all people living with HIV will know their HIV status
  • By 2020, 90% of all people with diagnosed HIV infection will receive sustained antiretroviral therapy
  • By 2020, 90% of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy will have viral suppression.

As of December 2019, the Ugu district had achieved the following:

  • 93% of the population know their HIV status
  • 90% of the HIV positive population (109,080 people) are on anti-retroviral treatment (ART)
  • 92% of these patients are virally suppressed.

This was no easy feat, particularly given the health-resource constraints experienced in the public health sector. BroadReach Consulting has supported the Department of Health as a certified implementing partner of Vantage Technologies, using a combination of AI-enabled technology, health programme management best practices and change consulting to help guide them towards achieving their 90-90-90 targets. Ugu was the first district in the country to reach this milestone.

The right people were given the right information, recommended next best actions, and step-by-step support to implement them and to create scalable, consistent, system-wide transformation. The ripple effect of directed individual action cascaded across the entire health system to enable oversight and improved results.

Last month, BroadReach Founding Partner Dr John Sargent spoke at the HIMSS DM Cambridge Summit about the role of AI-enabled technology in improving the management of the public health system in emerging markets.

Below, you can see Dr Sargent talk about their approach on HIMSS TV.

More information about the event can be found here.