A research team consisting of University of Nairobi scholar Bitange Ndemo, Professors Sharifah Sekalala from Warwick Law School and Pamela Andanda from the University of Witwatersrand has been awarded a €1.4 million (Sh180 million) grant to aid in the study of regulations surrounding the collection and migration of health data from Africa.
The research is dubbed “There is no app for this! Regulating the migration of health apps in Sub-Saharan Africa.”
The grant was awarded under the Mobility – Global Medicine and Health Research Programme.
The trio will work with app developers, civil society organizations and regulators to develop data regulation guidelines.
“The funding comes at the right time when there is a growing list of health hubs in Africa, especially those that are building health wallets that will have a long-term effect on the people of Africa.” Professor Ndemo said.
The popularity of mobile phone applications has resulted in the collection of personal data necessitating regulation.
Preliminary findings from the research team indicate that most health apps in the continent are owned by foreign organizations. As a result, health data collected from individuals ends up overseas.
Data collected from at least 40 million Africans is said to be profiting outsiders in a scheme dubbed “Digital colonization”
The team is expected to research on methods to develop regulatory solutions in regards to health data migration. The study will focus on Kenya, Uganda and South Africa.