From a total of 78 dossiers, after a continuous monitoring process and a call for applications in late 2019 (15 November 2019 through 20 January 2020), five digital health projects were selected by the Global South eHealth Observatory’s expert panel.
The winning projects address problems such as raising awareness, connecting people to resources, and collecting and analysing data to improve prevention, diagnosis and monitoring of the poorest populations in Africa and Asia.
These awards are traditionally presented in summertime at the Observatory’s annual conference. This year, however, due to the global health crisis, the conference has been postponed. It will now be held on 15 October 2020 and will cover the role of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in fighting pandemics, particularly Covid-19 – from tracking to 3D printing, from telemedicine to awareness/education applications.
Supporting relevant, high-potential initiatives
Following the panel’s final selection, which is based on a project’s potential and robustness, the Global South eHealth Observatory award laureates receive a year of financial, technical and logistical support coupled with €100,000 in funding.
These projects help expand eHealth and reduce inequalities in access to healthcare, an issue that is central to the mission of the Fondation Pierre Fabre.
Since the eHealth Observatory was created in 2016, it has supported 29 initiatives. Beyond the help given the most promising initiatives, this analytical process makes it possible for the Observatory’s experts to build a database documenting more than 150 eHealth projects in Africa and Asia, a resource that can be accessed at no charge on the website www.odess.io.
The five eHealth Observatory laureates
Anemiapp – Democratic Republic of Congo : this application connects sickle-cell patients with healthcare professionals in the DRC, the African country bearing the second-largest burden of sickle cell anaemia, the world’s leading hereditary genetic disease. Anemiapp also supplies information on available treatments and advice to avoid acute crisis episodes, the leading cause of death in those with this disease.
eCentre Convivial – Togo: this application gives Togolese youth information on sexual and reproductive health through shared articles and educational messages. It also provides access to call-centre agents in a country where insufficient information leads to persistent risky behaviour among teens and young adults.
Reach52 – Philippines, India and Cambodia: this project involves creating a virtual “market” for the health needs of remote and disadvantaged populations. The work is twofold: first, a network of volunteers uses a digital application to collect data to help identify needs; next, a coalition of public, private and non-profit entities make available free or nearly free offers tailored to a particular population’s resources. Structured around a system of “win-win” collaborations and partnerships between businesses, NGOs and government departments, Reach52 offers a brighter future for healthcare access in low-income countries.
TT Tracker – Multi-country: this application gathers and analyses the outcomes of surgeries for trachomatous trichiasis, a neglected tropical disease of the eye that is believed to impact some 10 million people worldwide and, if not treated by antibiotic therapy or surgery for advanced stages of the disease, lead to blindness. TT Tracker makes it possible for surgeons to enter evaluation and follow-up data on patients who have especially critical post-operative appointments. The data are also consolidated to allowa global follow-up of the performance of surgical procedures and of the pathology whose final objective is its elimination.
The Guinea Epilepsy Project – Republic of Guinea: this winning project from 2018 has once again earned the Fondation Pierre Fabre’s support to expand its research programme. The first phase focused on developing a technological solution for making and storing brain recordings used in the diagnosis and treatment of people with epilepsy. This new phase will integrate artificial intelligence to make the tool more effective and complete, helping to compensate for Guinea’s lack of epilepsy specialists.
The Global South eHealth Observatory
Spurred by the conviction that making new technologies more widespread is an opportunity for progress that could help eliminate geographic and financial barriers in accessing healthcare services, the Fondation Pierre Fabre created the eHealth Observatory to support development of the most relevant projects, strengthen skills and forge networks between the various stakeholders.
Beyond the Observatory’s year-round activities, it also hosts annual conferences that bring together international experts, those working in the field and potential partners of eHealth ecosystems to share their experiences and vision to help develop ICTs that can improve access to healthcare for all populations. At each year’s event, presentations are attended both in person and remotely through a live video webcast that reaches fifteen French-speaking digital campuses of the Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie.
The Observatory is supported by the Agence Française de Développement (French Development Agency), the Fondation de l’Avenir for Applied Medical Research, the Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie and the AeHIN network (Asia e-Health Information Network) under the aegis of the World Health Organization.