Fondation Pierre Fabre

Presentation of the eHealth Observatory


In the early 2000s, leaders from around the world formed an ambitious plan to combat all forms of poverty. This programme gave rise to eight Millennium Development Goals. Fifteen years later, though significant progress has indeed been made, substantial inequalities still remain, particularly with regard to healthcare access.

One illustration: although the infant mortality rate dropped by more than 50% between 1990 and 2015, 16,000 children still die each day, mostly from preventable diseases [1]. Operational problems persist in healthcare systems, due in particular to budget constraints and the challenges of resource allocation [2].

During the same period, developing countries began adopting new technologies at a phenomenal rate. Today, 95% of the world’s population has cellular network coverage, which is consumed through more than seven billion network subscriptions. The internet penetration rate rose from 6% in 2000 to 43% in 2015, linking 3.2 billion people across the planet [1]. As access to healthcare remains the primary concern of those living in developing countries [3], the use of eHealth tools – a cross between ICTs and treatment approaches – is a fundamental issue in this context.

Contexte Observatoire de la e-santé
Objectif Observatoire de la e-santé


The Fondation Pierre Fabre, well aware of this phenomenon, decided to actively promote eHealth initiatives that streamlined access to quality healthcare and medicines for the most disadvantaged populations in resource-limited countries. Thus the Global South eHealth Observatory (ODESS) was established to identify, document, promote and help develop innovative projects using ICT in the healthcare realm. There are five major areas addressed by the Observatory:


  • training healthcare professionals
  • telemedicine (remote diagnosis and consultation)
  • patient and medical-data monitoring
  • information, education and behavioural change.
  • financial access to care, microinsurance


  1. United Nations. Millennium Development Goals. UN report 2015.
  2. Romain André. EHealth “Un des secteurs les plus porteurs du numérique” (“One of the most promising sectors in digital technology”). Article published on 05 April 2016 on the blog, hosted by the AFD.
  3. Pew Research Center, September, 2015, “Health Care, Education Are Top Priorities in Sub-Saharan Africa”



Substantial sourcing is done, both in the field and remotely, to identify pertinent initiatives for inclusion in the Observatory’s open, evolving, scalable database. Project sponsors fill out a questionnaire to describe their projects’ characteristics. They may, if they so choose, fill out a second questionnaire for consideration as a recipient of an Observatory prize. Project sponsors can complete the questionnaire directly online in the Initiatives, Suggest an Initiative tab.


Project documentation is done primarily through reports generated from the field, providing additional information on the actual operation of the selected initiatives. Although field surveys provide certain facts for assessment, the site’s purpose is to report the existence of the projects concerned, rather than auditing them.


The website created by the Foundation is the visible part of the Observatory’s database. This site helps give visibility to eHealth initiatives, promoting them to the general public, healthcare and ICT stakeholders and potential partners. The ODESS, which can be found on social networks, publishes and relays information on eHealth in the Global South. The Observatory also intends to publish studies and reference documents on eHealth in the Global South.





An international, connected event

The Foundation holds an annual conference at its headquarters. This day is an opportunity for dialogue between the stakeholders and potential partners of eHealth ecosystems. It is also a platform for promoting and advancing development of eHealth initiatives. As such, prizes are awarded to recognize the projects deemed most germane by the ODESS Expert Committee in a special ceremony. As the event was livestreamed in July 2016 and watched by 15 digital campuses around the world, students were able to take part in discussions via videoconferencing. Internet users can also follow the conference online!

Expert committee

The idea of ​​the Global South eHealth Observatory was born of brainstorming by an expert work group led by the Fondation Pierre Fabre since January 2015.


Gilles Babinet

Gilles Babinet has been an entrepreneur since the age of 22, and is one many times over. He is also co-chairman of the  National Digital Council (Conseil National du Numérique, CNNum) and Digital Champion for the European Commission. He has founded many companies in fields as diverse as consulting (Absolut), construction (Escalade Industrie), mobile music (Musiwave), co-creation (Eyeka) and decision-making tools (CaptainDash). He is also a member of the board of directors of EY, the EDF Foundation, the CNED, and Learn Assembly,and is Co-Founder of Africa4tech. He recently published two books: Big data, penser l’homme et le monde autrement and L'Ère Numérique, un nouvel âge de l’humanité.

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

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.

Jean-Luc Clément

University professor Jean-Luc Clément is now Research Advisor at the Delegation for European and International Relations and Cooperation (DREIC) of the Ministry of National Education, Higher Education and Research after having served as Director of International Relations at the CNRS for six years and Director of a CNRS Neurobiology laboratory for 12 years. He holds a doctorate in population genetics, is the author of 129 publications and has 17 patents in pharmacy and agricultural chemistry. He has completed more than 60 expert consultancies on the five continents for French ministries and European Cooperation, and helped found the Hanoi University of Science and Technology in 2009.

Demba Diallo

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.


Boukary Ouedraogo

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.

Catherine de Rohan Chabot

Catherine de Rohan Chabot, a pharmacist by training, specialises in communications in the healthcare sector. After starting her career in hospitals, she oversaw communications for the Pierre Fabre group for many years. As a consultant, she is involved in raising awareness on lesser-known or misunderstood disabling diseases. Having recently become heavily involved in social networks, she is closely following the emergence of eHealth initiatives (particularly as a member of the Organising Committee of France’s Festival of Health Communication) to improve patient care and encourage patients to embrace their role in the advent of healthcare democracy. She has been involved in the Fondation Pierre Fabre’s initiatives since its founding in 1999.

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

Collaborators, founded in 2013, is the first French-speaking platform which is 100% devoted to news related to Tech, Innovation & Startups from BRICS and emerging countries, and their networking. Startup BRICS aims to provide French and French-speaking economic decision-makers with news, insight and analyses about the digital potential of the future economic champions. StartupBRICS is also a consulting firm, with field presence in southern countries. It seeks to identify opportunities, initiatives and to collect creative stories every day to enable communication on these projects through the website. StartupBRICS serves as a media intermediary for the innovative initiatives of southern countries. StartupBRICS is set up for the purpose of studying, understanding and promoting innovation in emerging countries, notably that bringing solutions and changing the daily life of people. Website: