Digital Health in Developing Economies

  • Activity Feasibility Study
  • Opening date 14-12-2020
  • Closing date 26-03-2021


Healthcare systems in developing economies and health ecosystems continue to face considerable challenges in providing high quality and affordable care. 

These challenges are also acknowledged in the sustainable development goals (SDGs) whose Target of 3.8 on universal health coverage (UHC) emphasizes the importance of all people and communities having access to quality health services without risking financial hardship. Achieving the UHC goal calls for urgent actions and investments in many areas including health infrastructure and digital health.

In this context, ESA has established cooperation with AXA One Health and Wish Foundation to accelerate sustainable innovation through space data and technology and advance the provision of seamless and sustainable healthcare in developing economies.  

As a first step of this cooperation, ESA is launching a new Invitation to Tender for feasibility studies to assess the technical feasibility and commercial viability of space-based services and solutions in the area of digital health for developing health ecosystems. The aim is to reduce the technical and commercial risks for  their implementation and operation.

About WISH Foundation: Wish Foundation works to scale up high-impact innovations to build an equitable healthcare system and make quality primary healthcare accessible and available to underserved populations in priority Indian states of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Assam and Odisha Uttar Pradesh, seeking urgent redressal of their health problems. WISH also plans to expand to two new geographies of Odisha and Chhattisgarh in the near future. Wish Foundation is active in identifying  high potential innovations and inclusive business models in public and private markets, developing test beds in partnership with state governments for on-ground demonstration of scalable innovations within public health service delivery systems, and can support strategic scale up mechanisms for promising healthcare innovations.

About AXA OneHealth: AXA OneHealth is a subsidiary of AXA Group, a global insurance company. AXA OneHealth is creating a digital and physical health care ecosystem by launching AXA’s own medical centres, linked directly to AXA  health insurance services. By combining, in one offer, services that are normally delivered by different providers, AXA OneHealth aims to simplify the healthcare journey of their customers. These initiatives embody AXA’s strategy to provide healthcare solutions in emerging markets, where the existing health system often results in high non-reimbursable medical care spending for the population.


The following list provides examples of areas of interest in scope of the feasibility study which have been defined in cooperation with Wish Foundation and AXA One Health respectively for India and Africa:

  • Area of interest 1. Health information digitalisation. Systematisation of data collection, organisation or analysis across the various sectors of health care, catering for: better serviceability of patients, improved digital data collection and disease early warning systems, vulnerability assessment to map the gaps in health service infrastructure.
  • Area of interest 2. Improving diagnosis and treatment. Improving health workers clinical performance through real-time assistance with clinical decision-making and diagnosis for appropriate treatment.
  • Area of interest 3. Last mile healthcare service delivery and enabling technologies. Supporting healthcare service delivery to elderly population and unserved rural communities, as well as supporting shift of medical treatment from primary care to home based care and including tele-medicine solutions.


Satellite Earth Observation (SatEO): provides information on factors that influence the spread of communicable diseases including environmental (e.g.: water supply and its quality, landscape and land use, climate factors, etc.) and man-related factors (e.g.: urban settlements and distribution of population). SatEO data can for instance be processed through models to forecast the risk of disease(s) spread. 

Satellite Navigation (SatNav): geo-location samples and other relevant pharmaceutical material, tracking of healthcare goods, or cross-certification of medical data.  Positioning information in support of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), which could aid medical goods distribution in remote, hard-to-reach areas and rural communities.

Satellite Communication (SatCom): the backbone of services addressing the areas of interest mentioned above is ensuring stable internet connectivity. Satellite communication may be required in remote areas lacking of terrestrial communication such as remote rural geographies and dense slums.

Activities supported by ESA required to consider solutions based on at least one space asset. If relevant, any other disruptive technologies such as Augmented/Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning, can be integrated in the end-to-end solution.


ESA Space Solutions can provide funding for assessing business and technical feasibility of new, space-based services related to the digital health for developing economies. The activities will be 100% funded up to €200K per activity.


Motivation, business experience and domain expertise are all important features. We want to hear about your ideas that involve utilisation of either space technology or space data. 

For this call, companies residing in the following Member States will be eligible to apply: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany,  Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

The applicable funding level of the individual prime - or subcontractors is subject to authorisation by the involved National Delegation(s). Therefore, bidding teams are requested to obtain a Letter of Authorisation from all the respective national delegations before submitting the Proposal.


Responding to an open competitive Invitation to Tender (ITT) requires the submission of a Proposal. The Proposal will be evaluated according to ESA regulations and procedures.

The consequential evaluation of proposals results in a recommendation for a winning bid. In the case that several proposals of good quality targeting different and/or complementary aspects are submitted, the Agency reserves the right to place parallel contracts for each of the open competitive ITTs in coordination with the relevant national delegations.

For the fully detailed Proposal Guide on competitive ITTs, click: Open Competition.

Registration as Bidder

The Prime and all subcontractors must register as potential bidders via esa-star. The registration process needs to be started as soon as possible, as it will take time to complete.


• 01 December 2020, 15:00 CET