The Global South eHealth Observatory
— Multi-country —
At the time of writing, 95% of the world’s population is covered by a mobile network used by more than seven billion accounts. The internet penetration rate has grown from 6% in 2000 to 43% in 2015, getting 3.2 billion people online. In a context where access to healthcare remains a major concern of people living in countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, eHealth tools that combine Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) and care are of fundamental importance.
In 2005, at the 58th World Health Assembly, the World Health Organization (WHO), recognising the potential public-health benefits to be found in advances in information and communication technologies, adopted a resolution for the creation of an eHealth strategy. According to the WHO, digital innovations contribute to the goals for universal health coverage: eHealth makes it possible to overcome certain impediments, like cost, access, or insufficient healthcare quality and to extend the range of services. Information and communication technologies (ICTs) make it possible to create appropriate, long-lasting, sustainable tools to improve health in the Global South, particularly in areas experiencing personnel and infrastructures shortages.
The most frequently implemented project models are as follows: providing healthcare to the remotest populations and improving diagnosis quality using telemedicine; facilitating initial and continuing training of healthcare professionals through online distance learning (e-learning); improving patient and healthcare data monitoring via electronic medical records; expanding access to information; and democratising health insurance using the mobile phone Information and communication technologies (ICTs) make it possible to create appropriate, long-lasting, sustainable tools to improve health in the Global South, particularly in areas experiencing personnel and infrastructures shortages.
A trailblazing initiative
In 2016, after a groundwork phase of analysis and brainstorming with a group of experts specialising in health, development and technological innovation, the Fondation Pierre Fabre unveiled the Global South eHealth. Observatory, the only Observatory specifically dedicated to eHealth in the Global South, a project of great scope that includes and international conference and adwards ceremony.
Every July, the Fondation Pierre Fabre hosts its annual International Observatory Conference at its headquarters in En Doyse (Lavaur, France).
Over the course of the day, international experts share their analyses while those sponsoring the most germane initiatives speak about their solutions. Participants are from both private and public sectors, representing international organisations, ministries, NGOs, healthcare institutions and companies. It is a unique opportunity to share knowledge, expertise and field experiences, and the conference fosters and facilitates dialogue, whether virtual or physical, between stakeholders and potential partners of eHealth ecosystems.
The day is livestreamed and watched on some fifteen digitak campuses of the Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie around the world, giving students the chance to take part in discussions via videoconferencing.
Since then, 4 annual conferences have been held at the Foundation’s headquarters. On this occasion, the Observatory’s prizes are awarded to the most promising projects among the projects listed and documented on the Observatory’s website.
Below is the best-of of the conference. The full conference is available online on the E-Health Observatory website.
Access to quality healthcare
Type of involvement
Distributor and operator
- Creation and management of the Observatory
Developing countries are aware that they lack resources and cannot afford a Western-style healthcare system. The portion of GDP dedicated to health in developed countries is 12%, compared to around 5% in many developing countries. We need to look for alternative models. E-health could be an amazing opportunity in many areas: preventative medicine, health insurance systems and epidemiology.
“Many projects in a range of application fields have already been launched. But most of these are pilot projects, and only a few have actually been scaled up. There is a real lack of visibility around these players. To solve this problem, the appropriate response is first to collect and analyse successful projects, and then develop those with the greatest potential on a larger scale. Hence the benefit of creating an e-health Observatory for Southern countries!”
“Digital Champion”, represents France at the European Commission on digital issues
ACHIEVEMENTS AND FUTURE INITIATIVES
Following the Annual Conference, the Observatory continues its mission to identify, document, promote, and help develop e-health initiatives that improve access to quality care and medicines for the most disadvantaged populations in resource-limited countries.
Experts consulted for the Observatory:
- Gilles Babinet, an entrepreneur many times over, is Digital Champion forthe European Commission.
- Cheick Oumar Bagayoko, Associate Professor in Medical Informatics, Director of the Centre d’Expertise et de Recherche en Télémédecine et E-Santé (CERTES) and General Coordinator of the Réseau en Afrique Francophone pour la Télémédecine (RAFT).
- Mehdi Benchoufi, a physician by training and head of clinic at the Hôtel Dieu, is an expert in digital technologies and founder of the thinktank known as the Club JADE.
- Jean-Luc Clément, a university professor who is now Research Advisor at the Delegation for European and International Relations and Cooperation (DREIC) of the Ministry of National Education, Higher Education and Research.
- Demba Diallo is a founding partner of Innhotep, a consulting firm that fast-tracks growth for its clients businesses using technological and management innovations
- Catherine de Rohan Chabot, a pharmacist by training, specialises in communications in the healthcare sector.
- One expert laureat each year
In the wake of the successful AMA project, AMAFRICA aims to analyse the relevance of phone monitoring in Ivory Coast to improve therapeutic observance of onco-hematologic patients.
Impact study of telephone follow-up in onco-haematological treatment
Mali, faced with a regional dermatologist shortage, is assessing the feasibility of a telemedicine programme. Objectives: improve healthcare and create a true communications network.
Creation of a national teledermatology service
Follow our action
The Observatory, the leading information and networking platform for eHealth entities in and for low- and middle-income countries, announces its 4th call for project proposals. Its objective is to identify and support high-potential initiatives in the Global South.