“I would like our Foundation to participate humbly but effectively in improving access to health care for the most disadvantaged populations and by supporting health care professionals, particularly in French-speaking areas of the South” – Pierre Fabre
What does the Pierre Fabre Foundation do?
Recognized as a public utility since its creation in 1999, the Pierre Fabre Foundation is actively involved in several areas:
- training of health professionals;
- combating sickle cell disease;
- access to care for vulnerable populations;
In each of these areas, the Foundation has different objectives. For the e-health intervention area, the Foundation aims to:
- create and develop professional training courses;
- support the structuring and implementation of national strategies for the development of digital health;
- operationalize and develop tele-expertise programs;
- capitalize on experiences and expertise, share resources for evidence-based practices.
Where does the Foundation operate in the world?
The Foundation’s projects focus on countries in Central Africa, Southern Africa, West Africa and Southeast Asia. The Foundation is also active in Lebanon and Haiti.
To operationalize its action, it has established numerous partnerships with local actors, including scientists, doctors, academics, students, experts, association leaders, volunteers and project managers.
And in the field of digital health?
The Foundation is involved in four main areas.
Problem: Implementation of large-scale digital health projects is hampered by lack of trained human resources at various levels (health professionals, decision makers, technicians etc.) At the same time, health care workers in peripheral health care facilities are often excluded from national training programs, even though ICTs have the potential to facilitate the continuing education of health care professionals to the last-mile.
Solution: The Pierre Fabre Foundation supports training programs in digital health, to acculturate health care professionals and decision-makers to this major topic of interest, and e-learning programs, to strengthen the skills of caregivers at all levels in the health care pyramid.
Supporting operationalization of national policies
Problem: By 2020, although 34 WHO AFRO member states had developed digital health strategies, only 12 had actually implemented them. In its strategy for the African region, the WHO highlights lack of institutionalization of digital health, current inadequacy of standards, insufficient state funding, and limited promotion of digital health in member states.
Solution: The Pierre Fabre Foundation has established a partnership with Togo to support the health authorities in defining and operationalizing a national strategy.
Problem: In Sub-Saharan Africa, there are 0.2 physicians (World Bank, 2017) and one nurse and/or midwife per 1000 of population. The threshold recommended by the WHO is 4.45. For some specialties, the gap is even wider: the number of dermatologists per million inhabitants varies between 1 per 285,000 (Mauritania) and 1 per 3,700,000 (Democratic Republic of the Congo) in 12 French-speaking sub-Saharan African countries. These specialists are mainly based in the capital cities, making access to quality care in rural areas all the more difficult.
Solution: Telemedicine (teleconsultation and tele-expertise) facilitates access to medical expertise in remote rural areas. The Pierre Fabre Foundation has developed a global approach in this context: health workers (doctors and nurses) in peripheral health centers are trained in the diagnosis and management of the most common skin diseases, in the taking of pictures in dermatology and in the use of a tele-expertise platform for the diagnosis and support for the management of complex cases by the country’s dermatologists. This approach is being replicated in other medical specialties.
Capitalizing and sharing
Problem: Lack of structuring leads to “silo” development of digital health, in which pilot exercises are repeated, being carried out by different operators, and without necessarily becoming visible on an international scale with regard to factors of success or failure of the projects.
Solution: It is precisely to address these issues that the Foundation has created the Global South e-Health Observatory!