- Sara Stella Mafopa Tatam, psychometrician from Cameroon, completed UNITAR’s Social Entrepreneurship with Digital Health online training course.
- Sara is optimistic about the possibilities for digitalization in the health industry and its potential to help Cameroon develop.
- She plans to develop a platform to promote health education and extend access to care using telemedicine.
- The online course is a joint venture of UNITAR and Columbia Business School Executive Education. It trains learners in Africa and the Middle East on social entrepreneurship that uses digital technologies for health.
September 2022, Hiroshima, Japan – Sara Stella Mafopa Tatam is a psychometrician from Maroua, Cameroon, who has been working in a public hospital for six years. She considers health as the foundation of society and values both physical and mental health as allowing individuals to actively contribute to a society’s development.
Health is at the heart of society,” says Sara. “That is why I chose to work in this sector.
Healthcare in Cameroon: challenging patients, medical workers and community
Cameroon’s health sector – public and private – faces challenges affecting patients, medical workers and the community. Sara hears patients complaining about the high cost of health care and the dehumanization of health-care services. Meanwhile, medical staff are trying their best to humanize services and convince the public that health-care investment is an effective pathway to enhance the quality of life in Cameroon.
Still, in her six years of service, Sara has observed that people are gaining more confidence in the health-care sector. Hospitals are now cleaner. Medical personnel are becoming better in welcoming and assisting patients. More hospitals are adapting to new technology and platforms, improving the efficiency of administrative and medical services.
Sara wanted to do more to improve the health of Cameroonians. Knowing her interests, Sara’s friend recommended the UNITAR digital health course to Sara.
Learning the uses of digital health
The new course for social entrepreneurs and digital health was launched in 2022 through a partnership between UNITAR and Columbia Business School Executive Education. The course teaches participants cutting-edge knowledge on digital health – including artificial intelligence and analytics – and builds their entrepreneurial skills so they can bring about positive change in their societies.
Sara points out how digital health can help Cameroonian society and be used in both preventive and curative health care. For example, digitalization of the health field and education can be a preventive tool through awareness campaigns and address treatments. In psychology and medicine, remote consultations could be conducted as a curative tool, while helping more people to access services.
Thanks to the course, Sara says she now better understands how to make health care more effective by using digital information and communication technologies to manage patient care and raise access to services.
Offering remote health-care services
Sara is now working with fellow professionals to set up a platform dedicated to health education and promotion in Cameroon. She is putting to practice what she learned from the UNITAR course, combining her knowledge, experiences and skills.
The plans are to begin with online psychotherapy and management of intellectual and relational disorders, combined with health education, for clients who cannot travel to the hospital to see her. She expects this will help her become closer to her patients and better able to meet their needs.
Sara believes making use of digital health will allow the Cameroonian community to achieve health goals at a lower cost, while driving economic development. To better prepare the health sector for digitalization, Sara would like to see the UNITAR course offered widely in Cameroon.
The tools of progress are right next to us, if we use them well, we will be able to achieve the idea of the desired society and therefore the ideal of well-being.
The United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) is a dedicated training arm of the United Nations. In 2021, UNITAR trained 370,139 learners around the world to support their actions for a better future.
One of the eight divisions of UNITAR, the Division for Prosperity seeks to shape an inclusive, sustainable and prosperous world. We empower individuals from developing countries – especially women and young people – to address inequalities.