Sub-Saharan Africa is characterized by its extensive rural populations with little or no access to conventional healthcare provision which coupled with a drastic shortage in healthcare workers, renders eHealth a potentially effective solution for the provision of healthcare in the region.
The goal of the eHealth for Sub-Saharan Africa (eHSA) programme is the development of pan-African eHealth services, enabled by satellite telecommunications, to expand healthcare access for rural African populations.
eHealth, the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) for the provision of healthcare, is a rapidly growing area in healthcare systems today since it provides opportunities to achieve economies of scale and efficiency in healthcare delivery and the potential to extend provision to disadvantaged and excluded populations.
Achieving long-term sustainability of eHealth services in sub-Saharan Africa has historically been difficult for a variety of reasons. Frequently, projects or services that are established in the region, providing hope to communities, flourish for a while before failing, leaving a dependent population without services and abandoned infrastructure and equipment.
To address the issue of eHealth sustainability, the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Luxembourg Agency for Development Cooperation (LuxDev) are working in partnership via their Satellite-Enhanced Telemedicine and eHealth for Sub-Saharan Africa (eHSA) Programme to identify the means to sustain eHealth services in the region. As a high priority, ESA has commissioned this Study relating to Sustainability, Liability & Business Aspects from Avanti Communications PLC which is collaborating with eHealth and telemedicine professionals from the Reseau en Afrique Francophone pour la Telemedicine (RAFT), the Norwegian Centre for Integrated Care & Telemedicine (NST), the International Institute for Communication & Development (IICD), and the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO).
The Study is an major element in defining the eHSA programme, which funds the establishment of eHealth services in the region, and parallels three other studies covering Governance, Regulatory and Interoperability aspects. The four studies combined, address the thematic areas of eCare, eLearning, eAdministration and eSurveillance, providing the backbone definition of the programme.
To this end the Study is conducting a Survey of the Sub-Saharan Africa area to help determine the potential sustainability of satellite-enhanced eHealth solutions. The Survey draws on foundations and reference material established in surveys conducted by the Global Observatory for eHealth of the World Health Organization (WHO) during 2009 and 2013.
Avanti Communications Ltd (“Avanti”) is a provider of satellite communications services with 3 spacecraft currently in-orbit and 2 in development. Avanti has an excellent track record of performing and exploiting technical and market studies aimed at developing operational services. Avanti, which is the lead partner for the eHealth in Sub-Saharan Africa study, brings deep knowledge of satellite-based solutions to bear and a commitment to providing services over the African continent as demonstrated by the coverage of the HYLAS2 and HYLAS3 satellites.
For further details visit www.avantiplc.com
The Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (“CTO”) was established in 1901. It focuses on all aspects of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and is an international organisation represented in over 30 Commonwealth countries, and with over 1200 industry players as members. Its core membership is centred in sub-Saharan Africa and most of its activities support the development of ICT in Africa. The organisation also provides advisory and consulting services, training and capacity building, in addition to knowledge transfer networking. CTO brings decades of experience in sub-Saharan Africa on ICT infrastructure development, regulatory and policy development, strategic planning, and the development of e-Services.
For further details visit www.cto.int
International Institute for Communication and Development (“IICD”) is a Dutch non-profit organisation with 18 years of experience using information and communication technology (ICT) for sustainable development. IICD offers advice and (co-)design services, implementation and evaluation support in economic development, and educational services.
For further details visit www.iicd.org
The Norwegian Centre for Integrated Care and Telemedicine (“NST”) is the world’s largest centere for research and development in telemedicine and e-health. The centre has strong interdisciplinary expertise and aims to shape the health care of the future. Through user-oriented research and development, NST has contributed to the health sector since 1993 via development of cutting-edge telemedicine and e-health solutions and services. NST has valuable resources, knowledge and experience in the field of telemedicine and eHealth for both patients and health care professionals.
For further details visit www.telemed.no
Reseau en Afrique Francophone pour la Telemedicine (“RAFT”) was formed in 2001 to support healthcare professionals in French-speaking African countries through continuing education sessions and remote consultations. RAFT currently supports hundreds of care professionals in fifteen French-speaking African countries. The RAFT support mechanism is based on a network of medical and technical coordinators active in each country, and partnerships with the Université Numérique Francophone Mondiale (UNFM) and the World Health Organization (WHO). RAFT brings to this study practical knowledge and tools as well as expert knowhow in undertaking sustainable telemedicine and eHealth services in sub-Saharan Africa.
For further details visit www.raft.globalhealthforum.net
Sea & Space Exploration (“SSE”) is a Belgian consulting company, specialising in developing satellite communications services mainly in sub-Saharan Africa. SSE was created in 1999 to support the launch of new commercial products and services in the field of satellite telecommunications. Staff from SSE participating in this study bring experience of developing and commercialising satellite telecommunications products and services in sub-Saharan Africa through their associated operating business SatADSL which was set up in 2010 and provides satellite communication services across Sub-Saharan Africa.
For further details visit www.seaandspace.com
The European Space Agency (ESA) is an international organisation with 19 Member States. Its purpose is to provide for, and to promote, for exclusively peaceful purposes, cooperation among European States in space research and technology and their space applications, with a view to their being used for scientific purposes and for operational space applications systems.
For further details visit www.esa.int
Lux Development is the Luxembourg Agency for Development Cooperation, managing most of the resources allocated by the Luxembourg government to bilateral public development aid.
For further details visit www.lux-development.lu
EU-Africa Infrastructure Trust Fund is a result of the EU-Africa Partnership on Infrastructure, aimed at providing improved and sustained African infrastructure with the objective of promoting regional integration across Africa.
For further details visit www.eu-africa-infrastructure-tf.net
The objectives of the survey are:
This Study is an important element of the definition of the eHSA programme and parallels three other studies covering Governance, Regulatory Aspects and Interoperability Issues. The four horizontal studies, covering the thematic areas of eCare, eLearning, eAdministration and eSurveillance, will provide the backbone of the programme and will emphasise sustainability of infrastructure and services as the major goal.
The eHSA programme Study on Sustainability, Liability and Business Aspects will:
The survey report will inform decisions made by the programme management team of the joint ESA-LuxDev Satellite-Enhanced Telemedicine and eHealth for Sub-Saharan Africa Programme to acquire funding to develop and deploy eHealth services in conjunction with in-country stakeholders such as national Ministries of Health, national Health Service Organisations and other healthcare provision service providers. It is hoped that the identification of sustainable projects/services by this Study will lead to operational services in-the-field throughout many countries of Sub-Saharan Africa.