Reflections on GDHF coming to Kenya: From Watch Party to Main Site

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Photo of participants watching a panel at Kenya watch party

By Sylvia Mwelu, Digital Health Technical Lead at KeHIA and Nairobi Watch Party Host

In the fast-paced world of digital health, collaboration is the foundation for innovation. As we navigate the ever-changing digital health ecosystem, the solutions to our complex challenges lie in the engagement of diverse minds working towards a common goal. Recently, the Kenya Health Informatics Association (KeHIA) had the distinct honour of hosting a local watch party for the Global Digital Health Forum from Nairobi, Kenya. This experience exceeded our expectations and demonstrated the transformative power of partnership, as well as laying the ground work for the future of the event itself.

What We Saw at the Kenya Watch Party
One of the most important takeaways from the 2023 Kenyan event was the variety of perspectives that came together under the virtual (and in-person) roof of our watch party. Representatives from various organisations participated in dynamic discussions that went beyond organisational boundaries, each bringing their own unique insights and experiences. The exchange of ideas was intellectually stimulating, and laid groundwork for potential synergies and partnerships that could propel collective progress in the digital health space here in Kenya. 

Participants watching a panel at Kenya Watch Party

The sessions were an immersive experience that deepened our understanding, broadened our network, and fuelled our enthusiasm for future engagements. The event’s seamless organisation and execution was critical. From the engaging panel discussions to the interactive Q&A sessions, every aspect of the event was carefully curated to provide participants with a platform to absorb the latest information on trends in digital health while actively contributing to the conversation.

Reflections on Hosting a Local Watch Party for a Global Event, and GDHF 2024

KeHIA worked with TechChange and HELINA to organise this watch party, and the experience was extremely rewarding. Witnessing our members’ enthusiasm and engagement as they connected with professionals present in the room and those from all over the world reaffirmed the value of such activities. Digital health initiatives don’t happen in a regional or national context only, and it is essential to incorporate global best practices and cross-regional approaches in our work.

Looking ahead, we are excited about other potential partnerships with TechChange and other groups who participated in this global event. I’d like to express my heartfelt gratitude to Techchange, World Bank, and Medic for giving us the opportunity to host this watch party. The synergy displayed during the event has left a positive and indelible impression on our organisation, and we eagerly await future opportunities to work together to shape the future of digital health globally, and here in Kenya, including the main event for GDHF 2024, which will take place here in Nairobi.

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