The European Space Agency in cooperation with the European Commission and the Telemedicine Task Force (TTF), formally awarded the SAHEL demonstration project to a consortium led by EADS CASA ESPACIO last December 14th 2010. This 18 month initiative aims to support the extension of sustainable eHealth services in Africa through the integrated use of satellite based technologies and other forms of information and communication technologies.
An operational pilot system connecting some isolated areas in both Western and Eastern countries of the Sub-Saharan Africa will be defined and implemented together with medical centres of excellence. The final goal will be to pave the way for a comprehensive eHealth system including clinical services and eLearning as a contribution to a future pan-African network for telemedicine, in line with the TTF objectives.
The SAHEL project proposes an efficient cooperation between technological players (industries, operators), health stakeholders (health workers, nurses, specialists...), centres of excellence providing medical content for eLearning and NGOs for local implementation with the support of regional actors. Key African partners are involved in the activity such as AMREF for East Africa - a well known health development centre of excellence in Kenya - and Le Kinkeliba for West Africa - a medical NGO set-up in Senegal since 1995.
SAHEL intends to place users at the forefront of the activity. Correspondingly the project will start with an extensive survey lasting six months to retrieve the user needs and service requirements in the domain of health care services in the relevant sub-Saharan Africa countries. For this purpose, a specific questionnaire has been created and will be broadcasted in the following weeks to all key African stakeholders, organisations, health workers and potential users which can provide information about healthcare facilities. SAHEL key for success is to accurately meet the user needs. Consequently it will need to collect a comprehensive set of user driven demands in order to build a suitable telemedicine platform capable of answering satisfactorily to the needs of African citizens.
AMREF (Flying Doctors)
Peter Ngatia: peter.ngatia(at)amref.org
Caroline Mbindyo: caroline.mbindyo(at)amref.org
MaÃ«lle Prevotat: lekinkekliba(at)gmail.com
Astrium EADS CASA Espacio
Patricia Inigo: patricia.inigo(at)astrium.eads.net