Fundación RECOVER is a Spanish NGO which has been working since 2007 to facilitate access to quality healthcare for the population in some countries of sub-Saharan Africa.
In healthcare terms, sub-Saharan Africa carries 24% of the worldwide burden of illness with barely 3% of healthcare workers and 1% of worldwide financing. RECOVER centers its work in that region with great deficiencies in the provision of healthcare services. It strengthens hospital management and develops healthcare projects in nonprofit healthcare centers, having as the core of its interventions the professionalization of local personnel, which guarantees it sustainability.
RECOVER has launched various development projects at these centers, has funded and trained more than 250 healthcare professionals, both local and in Spain.
In 2013, it also launched the Health 2.0 Telemedicine Program, which connects African healthcare professionals and Spanish specialists remotely in order to provide continuous training and support in the resolution and diagnosis of cases for African patients.
Health2.0 utilizes the SPARKSPACE solution, a web-based remote collaborative system, which is customizable, scalable, secure and confidential, and which permits the use of different devices. It incorporates a translator, which is essential for communication between users of different languages.
In almost 7 years of work, medical knowledge has been exchanged across 1,500 cases generated by more than 200 users in Africa from 66 healthcare centers and hospitals, rural and urban, from 4 African countries in conjunction with European specialists. In addition to sharing bibliographical reviews and passing on useful knowledge during this COVID-19 crisis, Health 2.0 offers online education by specialties, with the support of teams of specialists who coordinate the training approach.
Health 2.0 has familiarized African members of the program with the practice of office automation and the use of the new technologies, at the same time as it has introduced the digital clinical record in consultations. The management of patients has been improved in nearly 20 specialties available on the platform. It has generated an interesting collaborative network among professionals of the African healthcare centers themselves by sharing experiences and knowledge.
Permanent challenges lie behind the achievements made. Sub-Saharan Africa presents a very complex social and health context to be addressed in Telemedicine: patients’ precarious economic situation prevents the follow-up of their cases; the limited digital literacy of many healthcare professionals; unstable Internet and electrical infrastructure; and the permanent need for resources, equipment, and technology.
For RECOVER’s Health 2.0, to be a member of ECHAlliance is a great opportunity to make known its foray into Africa in the field of healthcare and the new technologies, and thus to enlarge its network of collaborators in Europe and around the world.
The presence of Health 2.0 in ECHAlliance is also an open door to healthcare and management specialists who wish to improve healthcare in Africa with its knowledge, by virtual and face-to-face means.
Understanding that Telemedicine is not limited to one tool nor one system, RECOVER is launching an invitation via ECHAlliance to technological entities and companies which may stake healthcare cooperation and wish to set in motion initiatives in Digital Healthcare for the development of healthcare in African small hospitals and health centers, and thus to work together for the right to healthcare that every person deserves.