The Global South e-Health Observatory
The Pierre Fabre Foundation aims to provide access to quality healthcare for people in low and middle income countries. The Foundation very quickly became involved in the development of e-health.
In 2015, the idea of creating the Global South e-Health Observatory (ODESS) was born. Supported by the French Development Agency (AFD) and the Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie (AUF), the project was officially launched in 2016. The Observatory was later joined by the Future Foundation for Applied Medical Research and the Asia eHealth Information Network (AeHIN).
The main objectives of the ODESS
The Observatory was created with the objective of recognizing, analyzing, sharing and supporting digital innovations in the service of the health of the most disadvantaged people. ODESS is a resource center for projects implemented in Africa and Asia, a tool for monitoring and sharing information, and a network of experts and stakeholders in digital health.
By networking operational staff and decision-makers, and by supporting the scaling-up of high-potential projects, the Observatory has become established as a lever for the development of e-health, including by supporting the training of players and the sharing of information, both of which are essential for the structuring of new public health models.
The information collected on the e-health projects identified is used to feed an analysis of the data, which can be accessed on line with various indicators: health issues, target audiences, project leaders’ status, stage of progress, technologies used, geographical areas etc. When compiled, these data reveal the dynamics and trends at work in the South.
Since 2016, the Observatory has been supporting a variety of projects, including telemedicine, solutions to assist decision-making, diagnosis and health data collection, programs to improve transfusion safety, devices for patients to improve their care pathway or to promote access to reliable medical information.
A community of e-health project leaders
Leaders of projects that use digital technology to promote access to health care can apply to odess.io to be listed, document their solutions and gain visibility. A project leader can be a public organization, an NGO, a start-up, a social enterprise, etc.
When the project leaders have a dedicated “Project” page, they can then apply for the Observatory’s prizes. The most relevant projects have the opportunity to benefit from support from the Pierre Fabre Foundation and are invited to present their solution at the Observatory’s annual conference.
Ambitious digital health projects
The Observatory has now received 165 projects, conducted 46 field surveys, provided financial and technical support to 34 winners and organized 6 international conferences. The prizes awarded by the Observatory give access to 12 months of technical and financial support from the Foundation, in order to promote development of e-health innovations in Africa and Asia.
Finally, the Observatory’s conference is organized annually to bring together the entire community to discuss current issues (and the future of the sector).
The Observatory continues to evolve to become a resource center for all players in the digital health ecosystem (project developers, donors, institutions etc.) By focusing on the creation of supports, tools and thematic files focused on current issues and problems related to e-health, by positioning itself as a link between French-speaking and English-speaking Africa and Asia, by strengthening North-South and South-South collaborations, and by promoting operational research, the ODESS is giving itself the means to take action to meet the challenges of tomorrow !
Isabelle Adenot, Doctor of Pharmacy, is deeply involved in innovation and the ethical implementation of digital technologies in the healthcare system. Since October 2023, she has chaired the Agence Numérique en Santé (ANS), after spending 6 years as a member of the Collège de la Haute Autorité de Santé (HAS) and chairing the Commission Nationale d’Evaluation des Dispositifs Médicaux et des Technologies de Santé.
Before joining the ANS and the HAS, Isabelle ADENOT chaired the Conseil National de l’Ordre des Pharmaciens de France (CNOP), the Conférence Internationale des Ordres de Pharmaciens Francophones and the European Union Pharmaceutical Group. She was also Vice-President of the International Pharmaceutical Federation.
At the HAS, she has been particularly involved in the evaluation of connected medical devices, including those based on artificial intelligence, as she is keen to help facilitate rapid access for patients to useful innovation. She has chaired juries for BPI France calls for projects to evaluate the medical and/or economic benefits of medical devices based on artificial intelligence. At the CNOP, she played a major role in the creation and deployment of the Pharmaceutical File (DP).
She is a member of the French National Academy of Pharmacy and a “Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur”.
Cheick Oumar Bagayoko
Cheick Oumar Bagayoko is a Doctor in medicine, interested in the use of Information and Communication Technologies for the health system in Mali and Africa. He also obtained a master’s degree in Biomedical and Health Informatics at the University of René Descartes from Paris V, France, a professional master in Expertise and Engineering of Health Information Systems at the University of the Méditerranée of Aix Marseille II and a Doctorate in Public Health and Clinical Research, with a medical informatics option. He is an Associate Professor in Medical Informatics and Director of the Center of Expertise and Research in Telemedicine and E-Health (CERTES). He has a solid experience in management and implementation of major projects, notably through several expert missions carried out in Mali, Africa and Europe, but also through his role as General Coordinator of the Network in Francophone Africa for Telemedicine. He is a researcher at the Universities of Bamako, Aix-Marseille II and Geneva. Cheick Oumar Bagayoko is the author of several scientific publications and has reviewed papers for several international journals. He is the Vice-President of the Francophone Interest Group within the International Medical Informatics Association.
Mehdi Benchoufi, a physician by training and head of clinic at the Hôtel Dieu, is an expert in digital technologies. Founder of the think-tank known as the Club JADE, addressing the ties between democracy, openness, education and innovation, he is deeply committed to incorporating open digital technologies in our society, whether to create a more interactive democratic system or to promote access to education. He is also behind the echOpen project, a collaborative, open-community venture focused on developing open-source medical-imaging tools.
Demba Diallo is a founding partner of Innhotep, a consulting firm that fast-tracks growth for its clients’ businesses using technological and management innovations. He has been an advisor to top managers and business leaders for many years, including Silicon Valley start-ups. He holds a doctorate in applied economics from Telecom Paris Tech, is a graduate of Paris’ prestigious Sciences Po and is regularly invited to share his analysis of, and enthusiasm for, technological innovation.
Her passion for digital health built over years working as International Director for Government Affairs for Alcatel-Lucent
and Nokia where she helped build large-scale digital health initiatives in countries like Mexico and Senegal – bringing together pharma, health insurance, information and communication technologies (ICT) private sector, government, multilaterals and civil society. Florence Gaudry-Perkins comes with a solid international business development expertise as well as
a propensity for strategic vision and thinking. One of her key skills and interest is building public/private partnerships for collective impact in social innovation.
Florence Gaudry-Perkins Perkins founded DHP -Digital Health Partnerships in 2016, a boutique consulting firm dedicated
to improving universal access to healthcare in low- and middle-income countries through digital technologies.
Professor Antoine Geissbuhler is the Medical Head of the eHealth and Telemedicine Department and Head of the Innovation Center of the University Hospitals of Geneva. He is also the vice-rector of the University of Geneva in charge of digital transformation. He leads the WHO Collaborating Centre for eHealth, the UNESCO Chair in Digital Medical Education and the Geneva Hub for Global Digital Health.
Boukary Ouedraogo is a public health medical doctor specialized in health information systems and epidemiology. He is Director of Health Information Systems for the Ministry of Health of Burkina Faso.
Bertrand Parmentier, who served as Director and CEO of the Pierre Fabre Group, also chaired the Pierre Fabre Research Institute until 2018.
Since then, he has volunteered as a member of the Board of Directors of the Pierre Fabre Foundation and sits on the Boards of Directors of the Somfy Group and Secours Catholique Caritas France. Since 2019, Mr Parmentier has chaired the Cylad Consulting Corporate Foundation.
Jai Ganesh Udayasankaran
Jai Ganesh Udayasankaran works for a charitable trust in India and is a member of governing committee of the Asia eHealth Information Network (AeHIN). His expertise includes planning, procurement and implementation of web-based Hospital Information Systems (HIS), Picture Archiving and Communication Systems (PACS), telemedicine, tele-education, mobile point-of-care applications, vital signs telemetry and chronic disease management portals. He has been a resource person for several national eHealth convergence missions and health information systems (HIS) strengthening workshops conducted in South East Asia and Western Pacific Regions. He is passionate about research on clinical and socio-economic impact of telehealth interventions, maturity models and assessment of information systems in healthcare, legal and regulatory aspects of eHealth, health information technology tools in disaster management, standards and interoperability, use of social media in patient-physician interaction and blockchain applications in healthcare. He has mentored student projects on Internet of Medical Things (IoMT).
AFD is France’s inclusive public development bank. It commits financing and technical assistance to projects that genuinely improve everyday life, both in developing and emerging countries and in the French overseas provinces. In keeping with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, AFD works in many sectors — energy, healthcare, biodiversity, water, digital technology, professional training, among others — to assist with transitions towards a safer, more equitable, and more sustainable world : a world in common. Through its network of 85 field offices, AFD currently finances, monitors, and assists more than 4,000 development projects in 115 countries. In 2018, AFD earmarked EUR 11.4bn to finance projects in developing countries and for overseas France.
The Fondation de l’Avenir for Applied Medical Research was created in 1987 by the Mutualité française. It has been recognized as a public utility since 1988.
Driven by its vocation of general interest and its membership in the social economy, the Foundation embodies the link between the mutualist movement and public health actors. Through its actions, recommendations and publications, it actively participates in the improvement of our healthcare system. It allows researchers to advance their research projects and move beyond the fundamental stage for the benefit of all.
The Francophone University Agency (AUF), an international higher education association created more than 50 years ago, brings together more than 944 universities, major schools, scientific networks and research centers around the world. As coordinator of one of the world’s largest higher education network, AUF assists universities for their structuration, expansion and involvement in local and global development. Its teams are present all over the world, and provide follow-up and advice for the design and management of projects. AUF offers technical and financial support and helps in the search for new partners. AUF develops and manages large-scale multilateral projects in all fields of higher education and social development.
Set up by the WHO in 2012 to support the region’s countries in developing eHealth systems, the Asia eHealth Information Network (AeHIN) of more than 1,000 healthcare professionals from 25 countries, includes senior civil servants from Health and ICT ministries, state health insurance schemes, universities and non-governmental contributors.
The missions of AeHIN are:
-to upgrade health information, health statistics and patient data record systems;
-to promote standards and interoperability within and between countries;
-to strengthen leadership and sustainable governance, as well as supervision and assessment;
-to boost mutual assistance and knowledge sharing using an effective network.