South African Consultancy to Lead Sub-Saharan Study on eHealth Regulation

Health consultancy Greenfield Management Solutions has signed a contract with the European Space Agency (ESA) regarding a study on regulatory aspects for eHealth, including telemedicine and satellite services, in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). This project is framed in the recently launched eHSA programme (Satellite-enhanced Telemedicine and eHealth for sub-Saharan Africa). Greenfield will lead a multinational consortium, comprising Jembi Health Systems (South Africa), Fraunhofer Graphishce Datenverarbeitung (Germany) and Thales Alenia Space España (Spain). The 15 professionals involved are from eight nationalities and have experience in 22 SSA countries.

Many policy-makers see investment in eHealth as an opportunity to help alleviate some of the challenges facing health care in SSA, such as lack of medical staff, infrastructure, finances and available and accessible clinics and hospitals. The region, consisting of over 840 million people suffers 25% of the world's communicable diseases, but supported by only 3% of the world's health workforce and 1% of the total spending on global healthcare.

The eHSA programme was launched by ESA in collaboration with the Luxembourg Agency for Cooperation and Development with the co-funding of the Government of Luxembourg and European Union Africa Infrastructure Trust Fund (ITF). It aims to facilitate the development of satellite-enhanced eHealth and Telemedicine infrastructure and services for the benefit of SSA, including clinical care, surveillance, healthcare management and health education.

Greenfield's CEO Sean Broomhead, clinician and health informatics expert, emphasises that ESA's goal to support improved performance and long-term sustainability of health systems in SSA is a key motivator for his organisation's interest in the programme. "The study on regulatory aspects provides a critical foundation to support the success of the eHSA Programme" he says, "and thereby contributes to strengthening healthcare in the region."

The study on regulatory aspects is the second study of the eHSA programme. There will be two further studies taking place in 2012, before a second phase, which involves implementing projects around specific themes such as electronic care, learning epidemic, surveillance and administration. Besides the social benefit it provides, the eHSA programme intends to contribute to several of the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals in a manner that supports SSA and the local social, political or medical equilibrium. Effective regulation, including legal, social, ethical and cultural environments, is essential for successful eHealth. Inadequate regulation continues to be a major barrier in developing new eHealth services in SSA.

About Greenfield Management Solutions
Greenfield Management Solution is a health development and research consultancy based in South Africa. The company was founded in 2006 and has since become a reputable company within the healthcare sector in South Africa. The company has extensive experience in the field of eHealth. Greenfield supports technology researches and developers in the field through implementation and evaluation.

About ESA
The European Space Agency (ESA) is an international organisation with 19 Member States. Its purpose is to provide for, and to promote, exclusively peaceful purposes, cooperation among European States in space research and technology and their space applications, while ensuring that it is used for scientific purposes and for operational space applications systems. By coordinating the financial and intellectual resources of its members, it can undertake programmes and initiatives far beyond the scope of any single European country.

About Lux Development
The Luxembourg Agency for Development Cooperation (Lux Development) manages most of the resources allocated by the Luxembourg government to bilateral public development aid.

About ITF
The EU-Africa Infrastructure Trust Fund is the result of the EU-Africa Partnership on Infrastructure, aimed at providing improved and sustained African infrastructure with the objective of promoting regional integration across Africa.

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