• Satellite
  • Les services par satellite pretendent avoir des gains de sante au Benin

    Les services par satellite peuvent combler de grands vides de connectivité de la CyberSanté en Afrique. SES, une entreprise de télécommunications et de satellites basée au Luxembourg, utilise SATMED, sa plateforme eHealth, pour aider à améliorer les soins de santé lié à l'accouchement à la Maternité d’Ahozonnoude, hôpital de Bénin. La fondation Follereau Luxembourg (FFL) fait partie du projet. 

    SES dit que SATMED fonctionne comme un outil de consultation et de suivi à distance pour fournir des communications entre cet hôpital, l’hôpital de Cotonou dans la capitale et un autre hôpital à Allada. Le système fournit le seul lien efficace et soutenue de communication entre les trois hôpitaux. 

    Les services comprennent la formation du personnel médical et de soutien de l'hôpital sur l'utilisation et l'entretien du matériel SATMED. La formation supplémentaire à distance en ligne des sages-femmes et des professionnels de la santé en formation peuvent améliorer leur performance de suivi et d’évaluation par un médecin. La diffusion des compétences permettra d'améliorer les soins de santé du Bénin. 

    Les deux but du projet de consultation et de surveillance à distance sont l'amélioration de :

    • La santé maternelle et des nouveaux nés lors de l'accouchement et le suivi de l'accouchement
    • La connaissance médicale. 

    Le directeur général de SES TechCom services, Gerhard Bethscheider dit "Nous sommes très heureux de la façon dont SATMED est entrain de surmonter les obstacles souvent rencontrés dans le déploiement des services de santé à travers l'Afrique, où les infrastructures terrestres peuvent faire défaut ou même inexistantes. Merci à la technologie par satellite, nous sommes maintenant en mesure d'aider à améliorer la vitesse et la qualité des services de soins de santé dans les régions rurales et éloignées, contribuant à changer sur une échelle beaucoup plus large."

    SATMED est conduite par le gouvernement luxembourgeois. Il est la composante médicale de la plateforme de récupération en cas de catastrophe du pays et vise à améliorer la santé publique dans les pays émergents et en développement. Le déploiement initial en Afrique était en Sierra Leone pour soutenir la lutte contre le virus Ebola. Il a permis d'échanger des connaissances médicales entre médecins spécialistes au profit des patients et d'améliorer la santé publique. 

    Ces deux services sont des exemples du rôle des services satellitaires dans les programmes de santé en ligne de l'Afrique.

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  • Satellite services claim health gains in Benin

    Satellite services can fill in big eHealth connectivity holes in Africa. SES, a satellite and telecommunications company based in Luxembourg, is using SATMED, its eHealth platform, to help to improve childbirth healthcare at the Maternité Hospital in Ahozonnoude in Benin. Fondation Follereau Luxembourg (FFL) is part of the project.

    SES says SATMED operates as a remote consultation and monitoring tool to provide communications between the hospital, the hospital in Cotonou, the capital, and another hospital in Allada. The system provides the only effective, sustained communication link between the three hospitals. 

    Services include training for medical and hospital support staff on using and maintaining the SATMED equipment. Extra remote training’s to be delivered online so midwives and health workers in training can have their performance monitored and evaluated by a physician. Disseminating skills will improve Benin’s healthcare.

    Two project goals of the remote consultation and monitoring facilities are improving:

    • Mother and child health during delivery and aftercare of childbirth
    • Medical knowledge.

    Managing Director of SES Techcom Services, Gerhard Bethscheider said, “We are very pleased with the way SATMED is overcoming the barriers often faced in deployment of health services across Africa, where terrestrial infrastructures may be lacking or even non-existent. Thanks to satellite technology, we are now in a position to assist in improving both the speed and quality of healthcare services in rural and remote regions, contributing to change on a much wider scale.”

    SATMED’s led by the Luxembourg government. It’s the medical component of the country’s disaster recovery platform, and aims to improve public health in emerging and developing countries. The initial roll out in Africa was in Sierra Leone to support the fight against Ebola. It enabled doctor to exchange specialist medical knowledge to benefit patients and improve public health.

    Both services are examples of the role of satellite services in Africa’s eHealth programmes.

  • Can satellites track ticks?

    Lyme disease is a bacterial illness spread by types of borrelia burgdorferi transferred by tick bites. The effect worsens in stages, with serious consequences as Lyme antibodies spread in blood:

    1. Swollen bite mark
    2. Flu-like malaise
    3. Rapid heart rate
    4. Palsies, including sudden, uncontrolled spasms
    5. Meningitis.

    If its caught early enough, antibiotics can treat it, but it’s a growing challenge. The disease has increased tenfold in Scotland, says the Press and Journal.

    Part of a response is a project in northern Scotland, supported by the European Space Agency (ESA) with £180,000, about US$280,000, which aims to use new technology to map tick hotspots and fight the disease. ESA’s partners are NHS Highland, the University of the Highlands and Islands and Scotland's Rural College. They’ll test the impact of new, web-based technology in tracking the disease.

    If they’re successful, it could benefit Africa to track vector-borne diseases. Lyme disease is prevalent in some North African countries and Rickettsial tick-bite fevers and Congo haemorrhagic fever in Southern Africa. The technology may be adaptable to track ticks and other vectors across the continent.

    Another ESA, the Ecological Society of America, attributes some of its spread to migrating birds. It says that the black-legged ticks are the main vector for the Lyme disease bacterium, and these may travel on nearly 60% of birds. Africa is a favoured summer home for many species that migrate to Europe for its summers.

  • A satellite initiative for telemedicine in Africa

    Inmarsat, the global mobile satellite communications company, and the Global eHealth Foundation(GeHF) have set up a joint project to develop, trial and deliver innovative telemedicine initiatives across the world. It aims to connect global healthcare specialists with patients in sub-Saharan Africa and other remote locations. Partners include the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF), the Royal African Society (RAS), QualcommMubadala Development Company, and the Gulbenkian Foundation.

    The project goals include GeHF’s ambition to use technology to start a healthcare revolution by working with governments to co-ordinate funding, education, technology and advocacy.  It sees using innovative mobile phone apps and best practices to transform health services in developing countries to promote the development of integrated eHealth systems. It has a telehealth consult telemedicine platform.

    For the telemedicine links, Inmarsat will use the Alphasat satellite to transmit real-time images for global link-ups so specialists can diagnose and treat patients from an immense distance. Alphasat is the world’s most advanced civil telecommunications satellite. It was designed by the UK Space Agencyand the European Space Agency (ESA).

    It offers a considerable opportunity to improve connectivity and integrate collaborative healthcare for Africa. eHNA will report on its take up and impact.

  • WiFi hotspot makes satellite Internet affordable

    Maybe satellite services aren’t too expensive. SES Broadband Services and Kiora Media have announced that they will work together to provide Internet access and content through WiFi hotspots in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). The hotspots will be located in public spaces and retail outlets, where users can pay for the service. The initiative will help drive down the cost per user. It also strengthens the business case for satellite Internet hotspots.

    This new proposition is the latest to address the connectivity challenge shared by African content consumers and the eHealth sector. “…Costly Point-to-Point backhauling and a lack of terrestrial connectivity remains a problem that prevents devices from obtaining content. With this new solution we aim to solve the bottleneck,” says Patrick Biewer, Managing Director of SES Broadband Services.

    The capital cost of Very Small Aperture Terminals (VSAT) is far lower than laying fibre over any significant distance. While operational costs are higher in some countries, they’re dropping quite rapidly, making satellite Internet the more affordable option in many cases. Profitability for suppliers is increased by having multiple users or content consumers use each hotspot.

    These are valuable lessons for connectivity for eHealth, where dedicated satellite Internet may be too costly for the health service provider. By partnering with other community entities as Internet data consumers, two goals are met: reducing  connectivity costs to health service providers, and increasing the social returns for each WiFi hotspot. eHNA’s waiting to see how long it’ll take healthcare to adopt WiFi on a bigger scale.

  • Algerian ICT deal may improve eHealth capacity

    Algerian broadcaster Télédiffusion d’Algérie (TDA) has signed a multimillion euro contract with Newtec and the Arab States Broadcasting Union (ASBU) to bring the award-winning  Arabsat Arabsat and Arab States Broadcasting Union (ABSU) Multimedia Exchange Network Over Satellite (MENOS) into Algeria. The deal was signed by all three parties on 15 September 2013 at IBC2013, a conference in Amsterdam. ABSU-MENOS terminals will be deployed by Newtec in 48 regions across Algeria over the coming year, and make use of the ABSU platform to provide TDA with their own Virtual Network (VN). This will be a fully secure, automated, IP-based network and will allow TDA to contribute and exchange radio and TV content. Satellite capacity will be provided by Arabsat on Arabsat-5A (Ku-band) and Arabsat-5C (C-band). ABSU-MENOS can be used for several applications, many of which are relevant for eHealth, including:

    • High quality audio and video contribution
    • Store and forward file transfer
    • Archiving of audio and video content
    • Highly secure VPN services, with full data encryption
    • SIP based VoIP coordination channels
    • Always-on Intranet and Internet access
    • Distance training and distance learning
    • Remote connectivity for Maintenance and Support.

    The deal includes on-site installation of terminals by Newtec and training for TDA’s engineers on the system, both in Algeria and at Newtec’s headquarters in Belgium. This is a positive step for building capacity in Algeria and technology transfer to the region. It opens the door for sub-network operators to make use of the system’s capacity. These are not limited to businesses, but can constitute other stakeholders, including universities, ministries, NGOs, corporate and private networks. MENOS was developed by Newtec under the European Space Agency’s (ESA) ARTES 3-4 programme, and has since won numerous awards and been deployed in several countries. The first MENOS multimedia network was installed in in the Algiers ABSU facility in 2008. The network was officially launched by ABSU in 2009, and has since been deployed in Iraq and by pan-Arab broadcaster MBC for High Definition (HD) sports. ABSU-MENOS was also used to provide the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) with HD coverage of the Olympic Games for the first time in 2012.

  • Spotlight on space strategy and satellites

    Launching and using satellites for the benefit of a region is a complex endeavour requiring progress on three fronts: political, financial, and technical. Just last week Africa benefited from progress in all three.

    On the policy frontier, Africa’s Space Working Group met for the third time in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to agree on a draft African Space Policy, as well as a framework for developing a draft Space Strategy. Due to the costly and elaborate nature of space activities, a coordinated and collaborative framework between African nations will be vital to these programmes’ success. The proposed policy and framework are now to be put forth for adoption by the AU. This political support and framework are often the first key steps in securing stable funding for the development, construction, and operation of satellites.

    Technologically, North Africa will benefit from the successful launch of the EUTELSAT25B/Es’hail 1 satellite earlier in 2013. The 6.3 tonne telecommunications satellite will become operational late October, with satellite capacity provided by both EUTELSAT (France) and Es’hailSat (Qatar) to the Middle East, Central Asia, and North Africa.

    As additional bandwidth providers like Es’hailSat enter the market, the cost of satellite communications will decrease, making it more affordable and accessible for use in the provision of eHealth services.

    African countries can start developing their eHealth plans to begin to take advantage of this new, cheaper facility. It can aid their mHealth and clinical information sharing projects.