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President Macron meets young Benin health disruptor

By Guardian Nigeria
03 August 2022   |   6:43 am
The name Dr Vena Arielle AHOUANSOU is not in anyone's lexicon at the moment, but that may change in the coming years, thanks to her singular idea of transforming Africa's primary healthcare culture.

L-R Dr Vena AHOUANSOU, Benin Foreign Minister Aurelien AGBENONCI, President Emmanual MACRON ,Seme City CEO Claude BORNA

The name Dr Vena Arielle AHOUANSOU is not in anyone’s lexicon at the moment, but that may change in the coming years, thanks to her singular idea of transforming Africa’s primary healthcare culture.

The 27 year old’s her journey began one evening back in October 2016 as the young medical student making the rounds in a public hospital in Cotonou – Benin and her team attended to a patient who was haemorrhaging after the delivery of twin babies.

Unfortunately, because of the need for a blood transfusion, the extended time it took to determine just her blood type alone in the absence of a simple record system, cost the patient her life. It was a dark and bright moment, all at the same time, it seemed.

For a young Dr Arielle Verna AHOUANSOU, that tragic event changed forever her mission as a care giver, and her vision for what a primary healthcare system should be in her country Benin.

Armed with a little faith and driven with an abundance in a belief that a basic digital EMR [Electronic Medical Record] system could be developed, she took her message to any and everyone who would listen to her idea. Dr Ahouansou was hoping someone somewhere would see not just the benefits of such a system, but believe that even though she was a young woman [in a ‘very patriarchic Africa’ and with little digital and zero IT experience], she was still the right person to develop this new system in her country.
Thanks to a series of small ‘gender based’ development competition grants from African entrepreneurs Tony Elumelu [via his foundation], Aliko Dangote [via his foundation], and a similar grant by the French luxury goods maker Cartier for women, Dr Ahouansou assembled a small local team four years ago to create a pilot program that in 2021 become a model being successfully tested in a major hospital in Benin.

That initiative today is known as the Kea medicals solution.

During his three country West Africa visit to Cameroun, Guinea and then Benin last week, President Emmanuel Macron invited Dr Vena Arielle Ahouansou to share her vision of a new African digital healthcare system. Sitting alongside Benin’s foreign minister H.E. Aurelien Agbenonci and President Emmanuel Macron, Dr Ahouansou shared her vision where critical talents from Africa and Europe would collaborate, to create an integrated and seamless digital primary healthcare system that benefits one simple race of people – and that is, the human race.

Buoyed by her projects strong reference in a recent 2021 OECD and AU report released in 2022 as an example of the power and effect of Africa’s digitization drive, Dr Ahouansou is looking to take her project to other governments in francophone African countries, with the assistance of President Macron. She believes her message of a universal digital primary healthcare deployment across Francophone Africa and someday perhaps the whole of Africa, would be a lifesaver by reducing medical records access time and improving overall care management efficiency.