You’re right Zamzam, one of the most frustrating things we have seen with the African MSc Health Informatics programs in the past is the fact that they don’t match with the reality of the job market. In most countries, the public health systems are in the best position for defining the required competences and for creating relevant job opportunities to fill these in. But too often still, a lack of digital health expertise at the decision making level doesn’t allow to complete that process. The result is that digital health related positions only exceptionally find their way to the official position lists for public health structures. As a consequence, I have seen so many graduating MSc HI students returning to their old job without really being able to put into practice their newly acquired skills and knowledge.
It is so important that (i) future digital health degree programs be competence driven in order to respond to real world needs and (ii) integrate with a global digital health strategy of their countries in a way that graduating students will find a relevant place on the job market. Therefore I believe that the development of these degree programs cannot be seen as an isolated activity of academic reflection and that most probably, given the dependency on national e-health strategies, there may not be some one-size-fits-all solution for the continent.
So yes Zamzam, let’s find a way to sit at the table where digital health strategic decisions are being made, not only to provide input and support from the academic field but also to make sure that future digital health education programs can be better aligned with societal needs and opportunities.