Dr. Diane Hashumba
Minster of Health, Rwanda
Universal access to prevention, treatment and care is only possible with health workers that are well equipped with the latest clinical evidence and sufficiently well-trained community workers and educators to inform their communities about prevention, rights and health management options. In 2017, Health[e]Foundation completed the expansion from only knowledge-based programs for healthcare workers towards health information courses for the community, as well as m-health programs for individuals.
Ending HIV | The goal of the WHO guidelines that is targeting 90-90-90, i.e. that 90% of HIV infected people know their status; 90% is on treatment; and 90% has an undetectable viral load by 2020, will be hard to reach. For that reason, our trainings in 2017 focused on HIV (HIV[e]Education and Treat ’n Care[e]Education), to provide the health task force with the latest clinical data and enough well-trained counselors, community workers and educators to inform their communities about HIV prevention, rights and health management options. As the knowledge base and the teamwork of health workers improves, more patients will be initiated on treatment and, most importantly, retained in care.
Life skills | Community workers and educators are trained using the Health[e]Living program to provide adolescents with relevant life skills and knowledge in relation to sexual and reproductive health and rights and by doing so to promote a healthy lifestyle and prevent HIV.
Refugees and newcomers | In 2017, the Refugee[e]Education course for Dutch general practitioners and physician assistants was fully developed and implemented. The accredited course is well received and will be provided in major cities in the Netherlands in the future. For refugees with a social or medical background, an adapted version of the course is offered in English.
Maternal and child health | The Female&Family[e]Education course is an important strategy to improve the retention and professionalism of healthcare workers and helps to reduce maternal and newborn mortality and morbidity rates, that are still high in Africa.
LUCY | During the Health[e]Families project doctors, midwives and community members are briefed to become the frontrunners in promoting LUCY, the SMS and voice message service for pregnant women and new mothers.
MyHealth@Hand | During the Big Data symposium in June 2017, the plan to improve the accessibility of care by developing a personal health data application for expectant mothers and their children in Africa was launched. We started with MyHealth@Hand, an innovative self-management app. Women can use the app to store all personal medical data on their smartphones, obtain continuous access to general health information and can interact directly with their health workers. MyHealth@Hand will be developed in collaboration with Estonian and Finnish IT specialists: Elagem and Industry62.
In 2017, Health[e]Foundation trained a total of 1212 new participants via blended e-learning and more than 14.500 individuals were reached via Health[e]Foundation’s e-health and/or m-health activities. The year can be characterized as a successful year with respect to both focal areas of Health[e]Foundation: continuous professional education for healthcare workers and community workers as well as relevant information sharing to the communities.
The year 2017 ended with a positive balance of € 57.200; we had budgeted for a surplus of € 41.725. The total income was € 1.052.062 (budget: € 1.041.925). We are pleased to note that the funding in 2017 was more than the foreseen budget due to generous funding by the pharmaceutical companies, private foundations and other donors. Remaining above the one million Euro annual income mark and ending the year with a positive balance shows that the time and effort put into fundraising and acquisition was successful.
Besides applying for competitive grants on national as well as international level and lobbying for grants from charity, pharmaceutical companies, sponsoring organizations and asset foundations, we experienced in 2017 that the development of our innovative app MyHealth@Hand attracted interest and new ways of financial support. In 2018 we will expand our efforts to financially sustain our work and ideas, by creating strong partnerships and exploring more commercial ways of funding through advertisement, corporate business involvement and direct marketing.
At the same time, we will seek contributions from local partners, as well as from healthcare workers themselves. In Nigeria and Rwanda, we noticed a keen interest in our e-learning model and we are exploring ways to market our experience with local universities and ministries. Our trainees in low- and middle income countries often have limited money of their own to pay for continuous medical education. However, we recognize that, increasingly, donors are looking for local cost-sharing and financially sustainable models. For developing countries, tiered pricing is available.