Institutional partnerships improve medical care in Africa

Project description

Title: University and Hospital Partnerships in Africa
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Africa region
Overall term: 2019 to 2021

A laboratory assistant in Asella, Ethiopia

Context

Medical facilities in sub-Saharan Africa are increasingly facing new technical challenges: ensuring that different IT solutions interact, improving the knowledge of medical personnel in how to use information and communication technology (ICT) in everyday life, and maintaining ICT solutions once projects are completed. These require expertise on ICT in health care, clearly structured management and modern techniques for caring for the ill. The aim is to improve the knowledge of health care professionals in the various medical fields and optimise care through digital solutions (e-health). Governments have already developed their national e-health strategies, but most of them are yet to be implemented.

Partnerships between German universities and hospitals with hospitals in African countries make it possible to  exchange knowledge. This and the joint development and application of digital solutions can improve care in African institutions. As a result, partner countries can better meet the technical and medical challenges, implement their national strategies and optimise the health care of the population.

The University and Hospital Partnerships in Africa Programme promotes this form of institutional partnership. The partnerships are particularly valuable to partner countries as they benefit from the advances in medical care. The findings are based on cooperation between experts who carry out similar activities in the respective partner countries.

Ziel

University and hospital partnerships in Africa improve medical care in the partner countries by applying digital solutions.

A doctor in a laboratory in Addis, Ethiopia

Approach

The partnerships focus on strengthening health systems and improving the knowledge and experience of partner professionals through training, staff exchanges and temporary placements. On one hand, German experts regularly visit African hospitals, where they carry out further training measures and work together with their African colleagues directly. On the other, African experts visit German facilities and take part in daily work.

The project also helps develop digital solutions for medical care. These can improve the quality of medical services and facilitate access to them. They can also lead to better use of existing resources. German and African IT companies are working together with the partners to develop these solutions. The solutions developed aim to improve communication between hospital departments and between health care facilities, and to promote paperless, digital documentation. Furthermore, access to diagnostics and continuous treatment for people in rural areas is to be improved. The partnerships are also developing eLearning platforms and tools.

Laboratory samples in Asella

In addition to involving IT service providers in the partnerships, an objective is to conclude integrated development partnerships with the private sector. This should increase expertise in developing IT solutions, strengthen sustainability and create local jobs.

The university and hospital partnerships in Africa also encourage African women to train and gain a foothold in the field of e-health. Gender-sensitive approaches are also pursued within the partnerships and there is a focus on specifically improving the promotion of women.

The measures are geared to the national and international strategies of the partner countries and are implemented on a sustained basis in cooperation with the respective health ministries.