The Global South eHealth Observatory

— Multi-country —

utilisatrices de l'application Amakomaya au Népal


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 awards 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, 7 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 last conference video :


Access to quality healthcare

Since 2015

Type of involvement
Distributor and operator


  • Combining the expertise and perspectives of institutional stakeholders, academics, stakeholders in the field, from the public and private sectors, in the North and South
  • Identify and support the most promising eHealth projects
  • Federate as part of a network and share knowledge
  • Build up a benchmark resource centre within the eHealth ecosystem


Feedback from the field
Case studies (as part of an expert mission involving 4 successful model projects) with the aim of drawing conclusions in order to improve future projects

Redesign of the website
Rework of the Observatory website to reinforce the Observatory’s positioning as an easy-to-use resource centre, especially for research work.

Organisation of the 6th Conference of the Observatory
focusing on assessment, research and sustainability of digital health projects: 12 speakers, 8 link-ups, 65 participants, nearly 2,400 remote connections.

Website of The Global South eHealth 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!”

Gilles Babinet
“Digital Champion”, represents France at the European Commission on digital issues



identified initiatives

laureates awarded

international conferences


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.

Access the interactive brochure of the Global South eHealth Observatory


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.
  • Demba Diallo is a founding partner of Innhotep, a consulting firm that fast-tracks growth for its clients businesses using technological and management innovations
  • Jai Ganesh Udayasankaran, expert in health and telehealth information technologies, and a member of the Asia eHealth Information Network (AeHIN)
    governing committee
  • Florence Gaudry-Perkins, Founder and Director, Digital Health Partnerships, expert in digital health in developing countries and publicprivate
    partnerships to promote social innovation.
  • Antoine Geissbuhler, professor of medicine, director of the Division of eHealth and Telemedicine at Geneva University Hospitals (HUG),
    and vice-rector of the University of Geneva. He is also director of the HUG Innovation Centre.
  • Isabelle Adenot, President of the French Digital Health Agency
  • Boukary Ouedraogo, public health doctor specialist in health information systems and epidemiology. Boukary Ouedraogo is also director
    of Health Information Systems at the Ministry of Health in Burkina Faso.
  • Bertrand Parmentier, graduate of the HEC Paris business school. He has run many health sector companies during his career. Bertrand Parmentier was
    appointed as a Fondation Pierre Fabre board member in 2018.

See also

Improving mother and child health – Khushi Baby

Initially one of the 2017 winners of the Global South eHealth Observatory, the Khushi Baby programme received additional funding from the Fondation Pierre Fabre in 2019 to support a new implementation phase in the Indian State of Rajasthan.


See also

Creation of the National Digital Health Center

In 2021, Togo’s minister of Health and Public Hygiene asked the Foundation to help it draw up and roll out a national eHealth strategy. The creation of a “National Digital Health Center” marks an essential step forward in the drive to provide a coherent, sustainable development framework.


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