eHealth initiative aims to boost medical care in Africa

06 June 2014: Inmarsat will help to develop, trial and deliver innovative telemedicine initiatives around the world as a partner to the Global eHealth Foundation.

Global eHealth Foundation

Inmarsat CEO Rupert Pearce signed a Memorandum of Agreement at Inmarsat’s head office in City Road, London, on 5 June, with The Earl of St Andrews, George Philip Nicholas Windsor, a Global eHealth Foundation Trustee.

The move aims to connect healthcare specialists across the world with patients in sub-Saharan Africa and other remote locations, helping to break down healthcare barriers.

eHealth revolution

The event was attended by Global eHealth Foundation Trustee ambassadors, the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF), the Royal Africa Society and many partner organisations across Africa, including Qualcomm, Mubadala and the Gulbenkian Foundation.

The Global eHealth Foundation wants to start a technology-enabled healthcare revolution by working with governments to co-ordinate funding, education, technology and advocacy. It aims to drive policy and provide access to health services in underserved communities.

Using innovative mobile phone apps and best practice models, the Foundation hopes to transform health services in the developing world and promote the development of integrated eHealth systems.

Real-time images

Inmarsat’s Alphasat satellite will be used to transmit real-time images used in telemedicine –so specialists can diagnose and treat patients on the other side of the world.

Launched by Inmarsat in July 2013, Alphasat is the world’s most advanced civil telecommunications satellite and was designed with the UK Space Agency and ESA to provide developmental services such as eHealth.

The foundation has a number of high profile ambassadors, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Chairman of the board of trustees.

Human right

Archbishop Tutu commented: “I am delighted that my Global eHealth Foundation is part of this inspirational endeavour to harness satellite technology to connect those in need with those who care, helping fulfil our dream of transforming healthcare from a privilege for the developed world into a human right in the developing world.”

Ricky Richardson, CEO, who attended the event, added: “The Global eHealth Foundation is honoured to be part of Inmarsat’s consortium of partners, who will work together to make eHealth solutions a reality in the developing world.

“This initiative is a cornerstone in realising the Foundation’s mission – fuelling an eHealth revolution that will provide equitable access to healthcare expertise throughout sub-Saharan Africa and the developing world in general.”

Laudable aims

Rupert Pearce, CEO of Inmarsat, said: “Twenty-four out of the 26 nations in the world with the highest mortality are in sub-Saharan Africa.

“It’s a region we have been focused on for several years, with projects including a pilot with telemedicine platform Vsee in Gabon.

“We are delighted to be supporting the ambitious and laudable aims of the Global eHealth Foundation, and hope that this partnership acts as a catalyst for technology providers and healthcare organisations across the world to become involved in such a vital task.”

Global eHealth Foundation: