Healthsites, eHealth Africa mapping health facility locations in West Africa to improve emergency care

News from an area not known for health tech. eHealth Africa is partnering with the Global Healthsites Mapping Project to create a dataset of health facility locations across West Africa. The goal of the global project is to improve outcomes in the medical and humanitarian sectors by establishing an accessible global baseline of health facility data. 

The project was initiated during the Ebola epidemic in March 2016 with support from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and Kartoza. eHealth Africa’s expertise is in health facility data collection and presentation. eHealth Africa will be working with Healthsites using two platforms they developed: Gather, a human-mediated data collection and curation application that crowdsources and quality checks facility information; and Aether to facilitate interoperability over several systems, allowing for a large-scale data exchange between numerous organizations. The mapping app that Healthsites uses to establish the baseline of facility data is OpenStreetMap. 

Improving emergency care can lead to a 45% reduction in mortality rates and a 36% reduction in disability–The Lancet  The primary use cases center around epidemic preparedness, support for disaster response, immunization programs, and maternity care. Most of this involves responding to outbreaks more effectively, preparing for sudden influxes of patients, allocating resources and availability of resources, but also the health of women giving birth in remote areas.

Project partners include the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Doctors Without Borders (MSF), The Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT), the International Hospital Federation, and CartONG. The eHealth Africa blog is a great spot to track health tech used in the field in Africa.

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