• Events
  • HISA calls for papers for its conference at eHealthAFRO 2017

    Sharing eHealth experiences and research finding’s essential to progress. These are the main goals of the Health Informatics South Africa (HISA) Call for Papers (CfP) for its conference at eHealthAFRO 2017 on 2 to 4 October 2017 in Johannesburg. It’s hosted by the South African Health Informatics Association (SAHIA). The CfP has four topics. They’re:

    eHealth Strategy, governance and regulationeHealth impact through routine health informationCyber-security related to eHealth applicationseHealth systems related to public health and surveillance. 

    Papers on other relevant eHealth topics may be considered. Will extra papers include health informatics developments and research on eHealth futures, such as AI and health analytics?

    The timetable’s:

    Full papers submitted to South African Computer Journal (SACJ), complying with SACJ’s submission guidelines, by Monday 28 August 2017    Notification of paper acceptance on Friday, 15 September 2017Final author registration by Friday, 22 September 2017Final paper due Friday, 29 September.

    A special SACJ edition will published presented papers. They’ll comply with SACJ’s editorial process, so at the end of the submission form, comments to the editor should include “HISA Conference paper.”

    eHealthAFRO 2017 brings together researchers and practitioners active in health informatics. At least one author should register for eHealthAFRO and present the paper at the HISA Conference for the paper to be eligible for SACJ publication. SACJ charges ZAR6,000 for publication costs for accepted papers, but authors with no funding can apply for this to be waived.

    Prof Nicky Mostert-Phipps is the contact for submissions. She is a software development lecturer at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University Faculty of Engineering’s Built Environment and Information Technology, and can provide more information about HISA’s conference and preparing and submitting papers.

      

  • Healthcare innovations claim top spots at this year’s Innovation Prize for Africa

    The sixth edition of the Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA) culminated with the African Innovation Foundation (AIF) awarding three African innovators for their innovations that tackle unique African challenges. Over 2,500 applications were submitted. Only ten nominees were selected.

    From these, Egypt’s Aly El-Shafei, a Professor of Vibration Engineering at Cairo University was the US$100,00 Grand Prize winner. Ugandan Philippa Ngaju Makobore, an electric engineer won the second prize of US$25,000, and Dougbeh-Chris Nyan of Liberia, a research scientist won the US$25,000 Special Prize for Social Impact, says an article in BIZTECH Africa. Two of the three African innovation wines focused on healthcare.  

    Inadequate medical solutions to administer drugs efficiently or diagnose diseases adversely affect healthcare quality in many parts of Africa. Makobore’s invention, Electronically Controlled Gravity Feed Infusion Set (ECGF) and Dr Nyan’s multiple disease rapid detection test both offer solutions that can improve Africa’s healthcare quality.

    AIF collaborated with the Government of Ghana, represented by the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) and Ghana@60 Planning Committee to host IPA 2017. The theme was African Innovation: Investing in Prosperity.

    AIF Founder, Jean-Claude Bastos de Morais was enthusiastic about the event. He said “AIF has rewarded IPA 2017 for developing solutions that can truly add value to the lives of Africans, and I believe that these innovations have incredible commercial potential and will succeed in attracting the right investments to go to the next stage.”

    Makabore’s ECFG’s  designed to administer Intravenous (IV) fluids and drugs accurately by controlling the rate of fluid flow using feedback from a drop sensor. IV infusions are critical for administering the right flows and volumes that patients need. Over 10% of children admitted to East African hospitals need immediate infusion therapy. Findings from the Fluid Expansion As Supportive Therapy FEAST trial indicate that over-infusion in children increases the risk of death by 3.3% at 48 hours. By increasing accuracy and safety, ECGF can save lives.

    Dr. Dougbeh developed a test to detect and simultaneously differentiate seven infections.  with similar symptoms, such as yellow fever, malaria, and Ebola. Most common testing methods take between three to seven days. His device provides results in ten to 40 minutes. He’s currently working on the second prototype. It’s a valuable step up  in detecting and managing infectious diseases.

    IPA has seen a large growth in applications and increasing interest from innovators and enablers. It’s attracted more than 7,500 innovators from 52 African countries. Hopefully next year’s winners will incorporate eHealth and mHealth in their innovations. 

  • SAVE THE DATE! eHealthAFRO 2017 Southern Africa 2-4 October 2017

    We are thrilled to announce dates and the venue for this year's eHealthAFRO Southern Africa 2017 conference.

    2 - 4 October 2017Emperors Palace, Johannesburg

    The event will be hosted by the South African National Department of Health (NDoH) in collaboration with an Acfee-led consortium of leading eHealth organisations, including Health Information Systems Program-SA (HISP-SA), the South African Health Informatics Association (SAHIA) HealthEnabled, and a growing array of partners.An extensive pre-conference programme will run at the Emperors Palace from 27 September 2017. Themes, programme, speakers and much more will be pushed through to the conference website in a regular series of releases building up to the event.Join us for an unforgettable event, where healthcare professionals, government leaders and industry stakeholders explore tangible eHealth opportunities and eHealth excellence in Southern Africa. eHealthAFRO 2017 will empower participants to advance eHealth in the region by showcasing proven strategies, best practice and real-world learning to realise measurable benefits for patients, communities, clinicians, and the industry as a whole.The event has an extended programme of seminars, an academic programme and high-level policy meetings to discuss and build a roadmap for eHealth to move forward in the region. 

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    NDoH is the government department responsible for health service delivery in South Africa. It's vision is "a long and healthy life for all South Africans". Its mission is "to improve health status through the prevention of illnesses and the promotion of healthy lifestyles and to consistently improve healthcare delivery system by focusing on access, equity, efficiency, quality and sustainability". 

    Acfee is an African network of eHealth experts. Acfee develops eHealth capacity and leadership for African countries to support improved health outcomes for our people. Acfee leads the eHealthAFRO 2017 initiative.

    HISP-SA develops and implements sustainable and integrated Health Information Systems that empower communities, healthcare workers and decision makers to improve the coverage, quality and efficiency of health services. 

    SAHIA is an independent organisation formed to promote the professional application of Health Informatics in South Africa. SAHIA is a member of the International Medical Informatics Association (IMIA). 

    HealthEnabled is an Africa-based non-profit. They are digital health architects that help governments and other health organisations integrate proven life-saving digital health interventions into their health systems at scale.

  • Merck eHealth Meetup’s been in Tunis

    Sharing ideas, trends and initiatives on eHealth’s vital for learning and progress. Merck, a science and technology company, set up its eHealth Meetup in April 2016 as part of its Merck Accelerator Africa programmes. After its successful launch in Johannesburg, Merck North West Africa (NWA) brought it to Tunis.

    The event announced an Incubator headed by Merck NWA to:

    Train young professionals and students on entrepreneurship and build multi-disciplinary  teams to work with their main, local marketsHelp successful teams to raise money and build market strategiesBuild a network of supporting partners.

    Africa.com has described the event as providing a platform for the digital innovation community to discuss current and future trends and to network. eHealth Meetup’s main goal as setting up a forum for business leaders, entrepreneurs, policy-makers, scholars and aspiring entrepreneurs to exchange ideas about entrepreneurship. Content includes coverage of current trends in Africa’s dynamic economies and leveraging experience from across the world to create a thriving African start-up community.

    It’ll be valuable to see how health and healthcare in Tunisia and NWA benefit from eHealth Meetup. Will its eHealth make a big step up, or a slow burn?

  • Med-e-Tel conference’s ready to go

    This year’s Med-e-Tel 2017 conference theme’s A View on Telemedicine and eHealth Initiatives Around The World. It includes:

    Improving healthcare via an integrated, online communication platform with International SOSMaincare Solution, a French eHealth leader in cyber-security and Big DataLuxembourg eHealth Agency on Big Data for public healthInnovative medical device for near-patient testing with AvalunWorkshop on telemedicine in heart failure, detection of atrial fibrillation, mobile tele-ecg and AI for ECG interpretation.

    The Med-e-Tel 2017 expo and networking area features a wide range of young and established companies, associations and organisations. They’ll provide practical, hands-on demonstrations of their solutions and provide information about their services and activities.

    The conference runs from 5 to 7 April. There’s still time to register. The themes are directly relevant for Africa’s health systems.

  • Saudi Arabia’s assessing eHealth change

    It’s well known that health ICT alone doesn’t result in net benefits. Change needs adding to it, creating eHealth. Just because it’s included doesn’t make it easy.

    A report in the Saudi Gazette says change is difficult. In healthcare, it can be the greatest challenge. To deal with it, the Health Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) has organised 2030 eHealth and Beyond, a conference on April 10 to 11 in Riyadh. It will examine the key success factors to adapting to and succeeding with change.

    About 15 years ago, an article in Harvard Business Review (HBR) said 70% of all change initiatives fail.  It attributed the cause in “Most of those failures is that in their rush to change their organizations, managers end up immersing themselves in an alphabet soup of initiatives. They lose focus and become mesmerized by all the advice available in print and on-line about why companies should change, what they should try to accomplish, and how they should do it. This proliferation of recommendations often leads to muddle when change is attempted.” It might have improved a bit since then, but possibly not by much.

    An eHNA post identified the scale of the challenge. It said health experts at the World Economic Forum (WEF) aren’t too sure how eHealth will transform healthcare.

    Undaunted, healthcare leaders and change management experts will examine the practices the Kingdom’s hospitals need to adopt succeed in using eHealth to transform health and healthcare. King Fahad Medical City, King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre and King Khalid Eye Specialist Hospital will team up in discussions to challenge leading consultants to guide Saudi hospitals in healthcare.

    The event has five themes. They’re medical informatics, mHealth, quality and safety, tracking and monitoring and change management.

  • A roadmap for image-based mobile technologies in Africa

    "We need new energy to change the world,” said Maud Olofsson, former Swedish Deputy Prime Minister. She was opening the fifth STIAS-Wallenberg Roundtable in Stellenbosch, South Africa. She was talking about the energy of innovation and the people driving it. She emphasised how mHealth experts should help politicians to understand these rapidly changing technologies and work with them how to secure the benefits and opportunities for health systems strengthening. 

    The roundtables are an initiative of the Marianne and Marcus Wallenberg Foundation. They have been run every year since 2013. Delegates are from South Africa, Sweden and the broader international community, invited to engage in dialogue and debate to explore solutions to global challenges.

    The February 2017 Roundtable focused on image-based mobile health. Over 60 participants attended from 16 countries. The event provided an opportunity for cross-sectoral and cross-disciplinary discussions and networking, says an article in africahealthnews.

    A tangible output of the roundtable is a roadmap to be published in a special issue of Global Health Action devoted to mHealth. eHNA will share it once it's available.

    The roadmap emerged from discussions on five key questions about the implementation, expansion and up-scaling of image-based mHealth in resource-constrained settings:

    How should the most important barriers to the implementation of image-based mHealth in the clinical setting be overcome?How can frontline healthcare workers adopt image-based mHealth in their practice?Which key strategies are needed to overcome organisational challenges to implementing image-based mHealth?Which are key strategies to overcome technical challenges in implementing image-based mHealth within the health sector?For each stakeholder groups represented, what are the most important priorities to build and sustain mHealth leadership?

    Emphasis on finding solutions and crafting a tangible roadmap provides a constructive model for this type of sector engagement. African eHealth experts included African Centre for eHealth Excellence’s (Acfee) Dr Sean Broomhead (South Africa), Prof Peter Nyasulu (South Africa and Malawi), Dr Ousmane Ly (Mali) and Dr Eddie Mukooyo (Uganda). They will take lessons from the roundtable experience into the Acfee stakeholder events planned for Southern Africa and East Africa towards the end of 2017.

    Helping end users make better decisions and provide better care was critical a focus. Discussions included how best to deal with barriers such as regulatory aspects, costs, Internet accessibility, airtime, power shortages, lack of training, use of personal phones and safety issues around phones, data accuracy and security - a long list - so that users are able to embrace mobile health.

    Delegates included nurses and doctors sharing practical experiences using mHealth in clinical settings, overcoming implementation challenges, and leading change. Their stories fuel optimism for what is possible. We look forward to reading the roadmap and to sharing it with eHNA readers.

    Image courtesy of STIAS

  • AeHIN’s strategy has lessons for Africa’s eHealth

    Last week I returned from an Asian eHealth conference in Myanmar. The trip was extraordinary for a number of reasons: exploring places, people and cultures quite different to the African environment I call home, learning about our Asian colleagues' approach to eHealth leadership, and learning first-hand how ubiquitous the open source DHIS2 platform has become.

    As our African countries health systems move towards eHealth goals, looking at other global regions provides valuable insights.

    Set up in 2011, the Asian eHealth Information Network (AeHIN) provides an overview of eHealth in that part of the world. When it started, it identified a shared problem of, at best, minimal Interoperability (IOp) “Even within Ministries of Health.”

    AeHIN has a clear trajectory for its 25 country members. The Asia eHealth Information Network: Strategic Roadmap 2016-2020 sets out a wide array of initiatives to support national eHealth development in Asia. There are four strategic goals:

    Build eHealth capacity for Health Information Systems (HIS) and Civil Registration and Vital Statistics (CRVS)Effective networking to increase peer assistance and knowledge exchange and sharingPromote IOp in and between countriesEnhance leadership, sustainable governance and M&E.

    eHealth governance framework for enterprise ICT is based on COBIT5, from the Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA). It’s an internationally recognised framework for ICT governance. Its three overarching themes are evaluate, direct and monitor. There are four main parts in AeHIN’s model:

    Align, plan and organiseBuild, acquire and implementDeliver, service and supportM&E and assess.

    AeHIN has eHealth blueprints for enterprise architecture. Its four components are business, data, application and technology. It also has a Regional Enterprise Architecture Council for Health (REACH). Its eHealth capacity framework has seven modules:

    eHealth service agreementsManagement, plans, policies and proceduresIOp profiles and terminology servicesHealth Information Exchange (HIE)National Standards and IOp frameworkeHealth governance frameworkNational eHealth action plans.

    Supporting these initiatives are special interest groups. They include:

    Geographic Information Systems (GIS) labRoutine HISsDistrict Health information Systems (DHIS) 2, implemented in twelve countriesResearch, with ten PhDs to work on AeHIN topicsCommunity of IOp labs.

    The African Centre for eHealth Excellence (Acfee) has much in common with AeHIN and its aspirations. A working relationship has been initiated between Acfee and AeHIN to begin sharing African and Asia lessons for mutual benefit.

    This structured approach offers a template for Africa’s eHealth. Modest, steady, sustained investment can start to achieve it.

  • AeHIN’s conference on ICT and SDGs starts today

    AeHIN’s five-day conference starts today in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar. Its the fifth general meeting and focuses on Achieving the SDG's with ICT.

    In 2007, the foundations of the Asian eHealth Information Network (AeHIN) were laid. Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC) set up the PAN Asian Collaboration for Evidence-based eHealth Adoption and Application (PANACeA). It brought together 16 researchers from ten Asian countries to learn about eHealth and eHealth research. In parallel, eight multi-national research projects were implemented. Its Advisory and Monitoring Team (AMT) mentored the project teams dealing with a wide range of eHealth themes, including evaluating effectiveness of technologies and health informatics to manage health information in hospitals and communities and using telehealth to provide patient care at a distance.

    AeHIN became the vehicle for these endeavours in the region. Its aim is to promote better ICT use to achieve better health through peer-to-peer assistance, knowledge sharing and learning through a regional approach for greater country-level impacts across South and Southeast Asia. Four strategic areas underpin its concept that better health can be achieved by strengthening evidence-based policies and health systems with better quality and timely Health Information Systems (HIS), Civil Registration and Vital Statistics (CRVS) and eHealth enables better information flow to support the delivery of quality and equitable healthcare and management of health systems. The four goals are:

    Enhance leadership, sustainable governance and Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E)Effective networking to increase peer assistance, knowledge exchange and sharingPromote standards and interoperability (IOp) in and across countriesBuild capacity for eHealth, HIS and CRVS in the countries and in the region.

    These fit Africa’s eHealth initiatives. Partners for the event include Ministry of Health and Sports, the Government of the Union of the Republic of Myanmar, the WHO, the Asian Development Bank (ADB), United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).

    The Conference objectives include:

    Sharing, learning, and preparing to implement digital health capacity building strategies standardized processes, tools and techniques, and ready-to-use IT solutions towards achieving UHC and SDG.Sharing current state-of-the-art digital health in Asia Pacific region for example interoperability architecture (OpenHIE) implementation, Regional Interoperability lab activitiesMotivate stakeholders to invest in digital health to strengthening health systems

    Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) are high priorities for Africa’s health systems too. Two of Acfee’s directors, Dr Sean Broomhead and Dr Ousmane Ly are at the event. They’ll be sharing Acfee’s eHealth initiatives and bringing lessons back for Africa.

  • Top healthcare solutions in the Innovation Prize for Africa

    The African Innovation Foundation (AIF) has announced the top ten nominees for its landmark programme, the Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA). Now celebrating its fifth year under the theme Made in Africa, IPA offers a grand share prize of $150 000 to spur growth and prosperity in Africa through home-grown solutions, an article in IT-Online says.

    The IPA has seen considerable growth in applications and increasing interest from both innovators and innovation enablers over the years. IPA 2016 attracted a record of over 3,600 innovators and received 985 successful submissions from 46 African countries. African ingenuity this year showcases new breakthroughs in public health, including malaria, HIV/AIDS and cancer, smart solutions for farmers and dynamic energy initiatives. 

    AIF will host the IPA 2016: Made in Africa awards ceremony on 22 and 23 June 2016 in Gaborone, Botswana. Collaborating partners include the Ministry of Infrastructure, Science and Technology (MIST), and the Botswana Innovation Hub (BIH). 

    The healthcare solutions in the top 10 IPA 2016 nominees include:

    Urine Test for Malaria (UMT)

    Dr Eddy Agbo from Nigeria developed the UMT, a rapid non-blood diagnostic medical device that can diagnose malaria in less than 25 minutes. Africa has the highest number of malaria cases worldwide. The inability to quickly diagnose and commence malaria treatment can lead to various complications including kidney failure, build-up of lung fluid, aplastic anaemia and even death. UMT uses a dip-stick to get accurate results within half an hour. The technology detects malaria parasite proteins in urine of patients with fever due to malaria. UMT’is simple and affordable, and a potential game changer in managing malaria across Africa. 

    Api-Palu

    Valentin Agon from Benin also developed a solution to curb the spread of malaria. Api-Palu is an anti-malaria drug treatment developed out of natural plant extract. It is significantly cheaper than available anti-malarial drugs, and has great inhibitory effects on 3D7 strains of plasmodium falciparum the causative agent of malaria. According to the WHO, Sub-Saharan Africa is home to 88% of malaria cases and 90% of malaria deaths reported globally with some African governments spending up to 40% of their public health budgets on malaria treatment. Api-Palu manifests as a fast rate of malaria parasite clearance from the blood following short term treatment, with relatively lower doses. It is available in tablets, capsules or syrup. The drug has been approved in Benin, Burkina Faso, Tchad, and Central Africa Republic because of its therapeutic and non-toxic effects.

    Exatype

    Dr Imogen Wright, South Africa, solution addresses a different healthcare issue facing many African countries, HIV/AIDS. Exatype’s a software solution that enables healthcare workers to determine HIV positive patients’ responsiveness to Antiretroviral Drugs (ARV) drug treatment. According to WHO, 71% of people living with HIV/AIDS reside in Africa. 

    A growing number of people on ARVs are resistant to drug regimens, leading to treatment failure, further exacerbating the continent’s HIV/AIDS burden. Exatype processes the highly complex data produced by the advanced next generation of DNA sequencing of HIV DNA in patients’ blood. A simple report detects drugs resistant to patients, then highlights the need to avoid these to ensure successful treatment. Exatype has the potential to contribute towards effectively managing HIV/AIDS in Africa, and also holds promise in helping detect drug resistance for other disease burdens such as Tuberculosis (TB) and malaria.

    Aceso

    Dr Kit Vaughan, also from South Africa, created an imaging technology, capable of performing full-field digital mammography and automated breast ultrasound at the same time, dramatically improving breast cancer detection. Annually, there are more than half a million cancer deaths in Africa and these numbers are expected to double in the next three decades. If diagnosed early enough, the chances of treating the cancer successfully increases dramatically. However, because 40% of women have dense tissue, their cancers cannot be seen on X-ray. Furthermore, a false negative finding can have devastating consequences. Aceso is a single device that can acquire dual-modality images, full-field digital mammography and automated breast ultrasound at the same time. This world first system’s protected by international patents and has been successfully tested in two separate clinical trials with 120 women.

    Having four healthcare solutions emerging from the top ten Innovative solutions across the different sectors is very encouraging. All four address critical healthcare issues facing African health systems and have the potential to have a real impact and save lives across the continent.