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.
The conference of July 1, 2019: news, photos and videos.
Below is the best-of of the conference. The full conference is available online on the E-Health Observatory website.