• eHealthAFRO
  • eHealth for SDG promoted at East African Ministerial Conference

    Kigali, Rwanda has been a magnanimous host to eHealth events, this Autumn. Following on from last week’s EAC Regional eHealth and Telemedicine Workshop, the 2nd EAC Regional eHealth and Telemedicine Ministerial Conference was Thursday 17 April. The Ministerial Conference considered the report and recommendations of the workshop, under the theme “harnessing science, technology and innovation to transform healthcare delivery  and accelerate the attainment of sustainable development goals in East Africa". It’s yet another high level African meeting exploring the role of eHealth in helping us to achieve universal health coverage, hosted by the East African Science and Technology Commission (EASTECO).

    “Discuss how technology can be used to enhance healthcare delivery” was a challenge posed by Rt Hon Dr Ali H Kirunda Kivejinja, Chairperson of the EAC Council of Ministers, to conference delegates, in his opening remarks. He emphasised the importance of cooperation to secure the technologies’ “ultimate goal of improving standards of living and increasing life expectancy of East Africans”.

    Clear directives were provided on the way forward. The Ministerial Conference: The 2nd EAC Regional e-Health and Telemedicine Ministerial Conference:

    "Urged the EAC Partner States that do not have a National e-Health Strategy develop it in line with the WHO - ITU National e-Health Strategy Toolkit [to develop one] by 2020;Directed EASTECO to conduct an EAC regional e-Health readiness assessment incorporating aspects of systems interoperability, costs and benefits of investing in e-Health by 30th December 2019 in collaboration with the EAC Secretariat, East African Health Research Commission, Partner States’ National Science and Technology Commissions/Councils and Partners;Directed EASTECO to promote incubation of local digital health solutions in collaboration with the EAC Secretariat and the Partner States’ Ministries and Agencies responsible for ICT, Science, Technology and Innovation and submit progress reports to relevant Sectoral Councils and the Council of Ministers every two years;Urged the Sectoral Council on Health to coordinate the development of regional policies, laws, regulations, guidelines, standards, on health facility/patient safety, data sharing, data security and privacy to facilitate e-health enabled in country and cross border patient referrals within the EAC Partner States by 30th June 2020 directed the EAC Regional Centre of Excellence for Biomedical Engineering and eHealth to conduct a study in the application of eLearning systems for training Health Professional in the Region and IUCEA to develop a regional framework to enhance regional and south-south collaboration in capacity building for e-Health by Jan 2020;Directed EASTECO to take leadership in convening the EAC regional e-health and telemedicine workshops, ministerial conferences and international exhibitions every two years on a rotational basis among the Partner States in last week of October as part of the meetings of the EAC Sectoral Council of Ministers responsible for Health in collaboration with the EAC Secretariat, the EAHRC and the EAC Regional Center for Excellence for Biomedical Engineering and e-Health; andApproved hosting of the 3rd EAC regional e-health and telemedicine workshops, ministerial conferences and international exhibitions by the Republic of Uganda from 28th to 30th October 2020 as approved by the 16th Ordinary Meeting of the EAC Sectoral Council of Ministers of Health."

    Collaboration and cooperation for eHealth for impact is a growing theme in African regional communities. Congratulations to the organising team and it’s tireless leader, Ms Gertrude Ngabirano Executive Secretary, EASTECO. It is a timely theme for eHealth to realise its potential and its critical role I supporting UHC.

    Photo – Ministerial Panel Picture, from left to right: Dr. Rashid Aman, Chief Administrative Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Republic of Kenya; Hon. Ken. Obura, Chief Administrative Secretary, Ministry of East African Community and Norther Corridor Development, Republic of Kenya; Rt. Hon. Dr. Ali H. Kirunda Kivejinja, Second Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for EAC Affairs, Republic of Uganda and Chairperson of EAC Council of Ministers; Hon. Sarah Achieng Opendi, State Minister for Health - General Duties, Republic of Uganda;  Dr. Patrick Ndimubanzi, Minister of State in the Ministry of Health in charge of Public Health and Primary Health Care, Republic of Rwanda; Mr. Toritoi Ngosayon Bunto, Ag. High Commissioner of the United Republic of Tanzania in Rwanda; representing Hon. Dr. Ummy Ally Mwalimu, Minister of Health, Community Development, Gender, Seniors and Children in URT.

    Photo - Ms. Gertrude Ngabirano, Executive Secretary of EASTECO

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    Cover photo – Rt. Hon. Dr. Ali H. Kirunda Kivejinja, Second Second Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for EAC Affairs, Republic of Uganda and Chairperson of EAC Council of Ministers giving remarks

  • eHealthAFRO's African footprint expands

    Leaders were engaged, ideas were exchanged and participants joined the eHealth (r)evolution at the roundtable discussions. A key output is a list of priorities to take eHealth forward in the region. This will be shared in a conference report to be published later this month.

    Last week’s event made firm strides towards establishing eHealthAFRO as Africa’s premier platform for eHealth leadership stakeholder engagement. Two regions have confirmed their support for regular eHealthAFRO events:

    South Africa’s National Department of Health supports on-going annual eHealthAFRO Southern Africa eventsThe East African Community Secretariat will launch eHealthAFRO East Africa in Kigali, Rwanda in May 2018.

    eHealthAFRO 2017 introduced a refined approach that was welcomed by participants. It’s based on:

    Fewer, targeted keynote presentationsA diverse audience covering government, NGOs, private sector and academiaIntegrated daily academic journal clubsNumerous use-case presentations demonstrating practical achievementsMore opportunities for participant interaction.

    The eHealthAFRO website will carry event content from next week. In the meantime, you can explore the gallery of pictures. 

    eHealthAFRO 2018 is just around the corner. Will you be in Kigali or Johannesburg or both?

    #eHA2018

  • AeHIN and Acfee to collaborate on supporting regional eHealth

    At today’s eHealthAFRO, Jai Ganesh Udayasankaran, Council Member of the Asian eHealth Information Network (AeHIN) presented his organisation’s history and successes. It plays a substantial catalytic role in supporting eHealth’s development in the Asian region.

    Mr Udayasankaran confirmed that AeHIN will collaborate with Africa’s emerging network, the Africa Centre for eHealth excellence (Acfee), on several aspects of eHealth that are priorities both for Africa and Asia. The main themes include:

    eHealth governanceeHealth regulationCyber-security.

    eHealth governance is well-developed in AeHIN. It promotes COBIT 5, a sophisticated standard. Most of Africa’s eHealth governance needs an initial entry point. Countries can use AeHIN’s experiences to see a trajectory of where their eHealth governance could lead.

    Acfee’s research on eHealth regulation in Africa reveals a significant deficit. The 2013 data are a few years out of date, though progress remains slow. They show an extensive reliance on telecommunications regulations, with little specific eHealth regulation, as shown below.

    These figures are well behind good practices. The deficit’s about 45% points, showing that progress is vital to avoid the African region falling further behind.

    Cyber-security has become increasingly critical. Acfee accumulates data on issues, priorities and guidance, much of which is posted on eHNA. Acfee’s basic cyber-security handbook for Africa sets out some features in what are rapidly changing and more effective cyber-threats.

    Collaboration with AeHIN will move further ahead this year. Progress will be reported at next year’s eHealthAFRO 2018 and in eHNA

  • Four vital insights from eHealthAFRO 2017 day one

    Day one of eHealth AFRO 2017 dealt with regional and country eHealth strategies affecting UHC in African countries. Four important insights were offered: two are from Southern Africa, one from East Africa and one from West Africa.

    Mbulelo Cabuko, Director of Health Information at South Africa’s National Department of Health (NDOH) proposed that Africa should develop its own measurements of eHealth progress that provides more depth than WHO and the Global eHealth Observatory (GOE) can provide with the limitations of its eHealth surveys. These are constrained by the need to collect comparable global data. Africa needs to be able to delve into more detail. It also needs to understand its countries’ eHealth trends and trajectories. Developing this type of survey’s demanding, but it’s needed.

    Daniel Morenzi, East African Communities’ eHealth lead, described its regional ID project. Each citizen will have a Unique Personal Identifier (UPI), including biometric data. It’ll be used to access healthcare too. Eventually, with its integrated economies, each person’s UPI will be accepted by all six EAC members for education, migration, financial and health services. Three EAC countries are piloting the initiative, Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda.

    Brigadier General (Retired) Dr Gerald Gwinji, Zimbabwe’s Permanent Secretary of Health, outlined his country’s philosophy that it must not fall behind in the expanding ICT world. eHealth’s seen as cost effective and supporting all six of the WHO pillars of healthcare strengthening:

    Service deliveryHealth workforceHealth information systemsAccess to essential medicinesFinancingLeadership and governance.

    Dr Anthony Nsiah-Asare, Director General, Ghana Health Service, outlined core themes of his country’s NHI model. Operating since 2003, the NHI is overseen by the National Health Insurance Authority. Part of healthcare finance is raised by a 0.5% addition to the VAT rate. As healthcare demand rises, it’s suggested that this increases to 1.5%. Reimbursing hospital services relies on the Ghana Diagnosis Related Groups (GDRG). This requires a set of eHealth investments related to costing models.

    These four themes are only some of the insights shared on the first day of eHealthAFRO 2017. More will follow on eHNA and the live twitter feed @eHA2017.

  • Three days to go to eHealthAFRO 2017

    At 1pm Monday, 2 October, eHealthAFRO opens. The event integrates a range of contributions from across Africa to add to your knowledge of eHealth and its impact on healthcare transformation. Its interactive approach allows participants to influence regional eHealth. 

    The event will empower you to advance eHealth by showcasing proven strategies, best practice and real-world learning to realise measurable benefits for patients, communities, clinicians, and healthcare as a whole. The conference theme is “eHealth for UHC”.

    The opening by Ms Precious Malebona Matsoso, South Africa's Director General for Health, will give us her views on where eHealth’s heading, how it will transform health systems, and the challenges it faces to achieve this.

    The South African Health Informatics Association (SAHIA) will be there too. It is running the HISA academic journal club between tea and lunch each day.

    There’s a use case bazaar too, with over 30 presentations from a wide range of eHealth suppliers. It’s an excellent opportunity to see leading-edge eHealth in practice.

    The six roundtables are where participants will provide their views on eHealth priorities to help shape eHealth strategies.

    On Tuesday, I will present five Acfee awards for outstanding eHealth Leadership. More about that next week. We will be delighted to meet you there.

  • Influence regional eHealth strategy at eHealthAFRO 2017

    "To begin, begin,” said William Wordsworth. eHealth was in that position a few years ago, but not anymore. Now there are a myriad of initiatives exploring opportunities for changing our health systems for the better. A challenge is not how to start, but what to do next: which eHealth to invest in, who to encourage, and how to collaborate for maximum benefit from available resources.

    eHealthAFRO 2017 will tackle these questions by tapping into the combined knowledge of the few hundred eHealth and health systems experts congregating at Emperors Palace from 2-4 October. “Two heads are better than one, not because either is infallible, but because they are unlikely to go wrong in the same direction,” said C S Lewis. This is the game changing philosophy that eHealthAFRO is built upon.

    The conference’s plenary will be arranged in banquet style. Team-tables of eight will debate keynote presentations and academic papers to formulate one agreed action for each presentation. These actions will be collated and consolidated throughout the conference, culminating in a voting session on the final afternoon to rank priorities. An output of eHealthAFRO 2017 will be a list of priority actions that conference participants will take to help move Southern African eHealth forward. A summary report will be shared with Southern African ministries of health.

    Add you voice to Africa’s eHealth community at eHA2017.

    Get your tickets here.

  • Participants shape Africa’s eHealth opportunities at eHA2017’s use-case bazaar

    I have been inundated with questions about the eHA2017 use-case bazaar since I wrote about it two weeks ago. It’s one of the big attractions at this year’s conference. Participants get to talk about their solutions and test their ideas with the eHealth community.

    So, how does it work?

    The conference starts in plenary, banquet style, eight people per table. Your table is your team for the conference. You will explore eHealth’s breadth and depth together for two and half days, extract lessons from everything you hear and refine them into action items for yourself and your team, and recommendations for African ministries of health.

    Tuesday, after lunch, table-teams will journey through a selection of use-case presentations in one of three themed rooms, spending up to half an hour at each use-case station in the room. Presenters will invite comments and suggestions to take their ideas to the next level. This is no passive show-and-tell session. It’s an interactive forum in which participants will shape Africa’s eHealth opportunities together.  Wednesday afternoon is a repeat with a new set of use-cases.

    So, what can you explore?

    There are two emerging themes for the use-case bazaar; “eHealth apps, devices and mHealth initiatives at point of care and in people’s hands” and “eHealth systems, infrastructure and interoperability”.  Each of the three rooms will have a blend of these themes. Presenters include CSIR, Jembi, HISP, CIDER, SANAC, Mobenzi, Vula, TOPMSA, Praekelt, MomConnect, HST, University of Pretoria, Tshwane University of Technology and more. Explore them on the eHA2017 website programme page.

    Participants are encouraged to explore use-cases that will benefit their eHealth journey, while use-cases have the opportunity to analyse their ideas and solutions through focused-group discussions with participants.

    eHA2017’s changed the conference game!

    Get your tickets here.

  • eHealthAFRO 2017 is interactive

    "Great things in business are never done by one person. They’re done by a team of people," said Steve Jobs. eHealth fits this perspective.

    eHealth's a high-risk endeavor, so collaboration’s an essential part of success. It’s at the heart of eHealthAFRO 2017. eHA2017 changes the conference game by making participants part of eHealth planning & decision making for Africa.

    Interactive sharing and eHealth wisdom track through all sessions. The core theme’s “eHealth for UHC”. UHC can’t be achieved without eHealth, and the eHealth it needs is sophisticated.

    eHealthAFRO isn’t like conventional conferences. Each keynote - the only conventional part of the programme - concludes with an interactive roundtable discussion, where each table of delegates debate what they heard from the keynote and agree one recommendation for priority action.

    There’s an eHealth Use-case Bazaar too, with a wide range of eHealth solutions to review. Use cases provide the latest value of eHealth projects.

    Whichever eHealth role you have, eHealthAFRO’s not to be missed. Get your tickets here.

    #eHA2017 #AreYouReady?

  • DG for Health Precious Matsoso to open eHealthAFRO 2017
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    Ms Malebona Precious Matsoso will open eHealthAFRO 2017. She is passionate about eHealth's transformative potential and believes that achieving "UHC depends on effective, patient-centred eHealth". We are thrilled to confirm that she has accepted our invitation to open the conference with a personal address and perspective on eHealth in South Africa.

    Ms Matsoso is no stranger to eHealth, information systems and their role in transforming health and healthcare. She has led South Africa’s eHealth strategy and its current review. The overarching objectives that place eHealth in a core role to support Universal Health Coverage (UHC) are challenging to achieve. Her leadership is essential in securing these for the long term. Her vision sets the context for the provinces and local health services for their eHealth endeavours.

    Ms Matsoso drives the Ministerial Advisory Committee (MAC) that I have the honour of serving on, alongside ten South African eHealth leaders. She recognises that eHeath is essential to achieve better health for all and is leading the MAC to ensure that South Africa's eHealth will support health transformation, helping sustain the health of South Africans in line with international good practice.

    The conference theme “eHealth for UHC” emphasises UHC’s dependence on effective, patient-centred eHealth. Ms Matsoso sets the direction and a realistic timescales for successful eHealth.

    Ms Matsoso was appointed Director General of the National Department of Health (NDOH) by the President of South Africa on 08 June 2010. She serves under the Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi. 

    She holds a degree in Pharmacy, a Postgraduate Diploma in Health Management from the University of Cape Town, and a Masters degree in Law and Ethics (LLM) from the University of Dundee. Her career has included posts as Head of Medicines Control Council (MCC), member of the National Research Ethics Council of South Africa, and the Director of the Essential Drugs and Traditional Medicines Programme for the South African Health Department. She was a Director in Public Health Innovation and Intellectual Property (PHI) in the office of the Director General, of the World Health Organisation (WHO) serving as WHO Secretariat on Public Health, Innovation and Intellectual Property. She served as the Chair of the Executive Board at World Health Organization from 2015 to 2016.

    Ms Matsoso has a bold vision for health transformation and we look forward to her comments when she opens eHealthAFRO 2017.

    Get your tickets here.

    #eHA2017 #AreYouReady?

  • webDHIS data experts for South Africa at eHealthAFRO 2017 pre-conference seminar

    A new seminar will help to develop data management experts for South Africa’s National Department of Health (NDoH) and provinces to expand use of the webDHIS and its data to support the best possible health strengthening decisions. The seminar is part of the extensive eHealthAFRO 2017 pre-conference programme.

    Health Information Systems Program – South Africa (HISP-SA) data specialists and NDoH partners, led by Chief Director Ms. Thulile Zondi and her team from the Health Information Research and M&E (HIRME) cluster will facilitate the five-day seminar. It is designed to give participants an understanding of data management principles and hot to get the most out of the webDHIS.

    Find out more about pre-conference seminars on the eHealthAFRO website. Tickets are available through the conference website or from Quicket. Don’t miss your opportunity to a part of this landmark event for the eHealth community in Southern Africa.

    HISP-SA develops and implements health information systems. Its vision is to do this sustainably to empower healthcare participants and improve the efficiency of health services, in partnership with ministries of health. HISP-SA is supporting webDHIS rollout across South Africa.

    The webDHIS is the South African deployment of the web-based District Health Information System 2 (DHIS2). NDoH first adopted the DHIS in early 2000. The primary objective of DHIS is to generate, analyze and disseminate health information. This facilitates effective policy development, formulate and implement health programmes, direct and budget health resources effectively, and monitor and evaluate healthcare in South Africa.