Welcome to Acfee

Advancing

eHealth for Healthy Africans

Our Vision

eHealth for Healthy Africans

To realise a vision of healthier Africans, health systems must be strengthened. eHealth is a key enabler in achieving this goal, though to be successful, eHealth needs to deliver more benefits for people. Unlocking this potential and developing it with African countries is Acfee’s main goal.

The African Centre for eHealth Excellence (Acfee) has embarked on a journey to develop eHealth’s capacity and leadership for African countries to support improved health outcomes for their people. Our entry point for achieving this is direct strengthening of countries’ eHealth strategies and implementation plans, supported by the capacity and leadership development needed for sustainability and success.

The African Centre for eHealth Excellence (Acfee) is an international network of eHealth professionals established in 2012 to develop leadership and capacity to advance eHealth in African countries. It’s a non-profit company registered in South Africa. Its board is made up of African public health and eHealth professionals.

Acfee believes in eHealth’s potential to contribute to health systems strengthening and transformation for better health for African people.

Acfee's Understanding of eHealth

Defining eHealth is notoriously challenging. It usually requires a bespoke definition tailored to each type of initiative, its geography and its specific health-strengthening context.

Our understanding of eHealth begins with the definition provided by the World Health Organisation (WHO): the cost-effective and secure use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) for health and health-related purposes.[1] We acknowledge that researchers have considered the evolution of the term eHealth and ways that it maps to changes in health informatics and healthcare generally.[2] [3] [4] Several authors have expanded the definition and identified the variable use of eHealth, ranging from using the Internet in healthcare to any eHealth-related use of computers. [5]

The evolving definition recognises that eHealth is a combination of ICT-for-health and organisational change and healthcare re-engineering, with potential to achieve substantial transformation in the way that healthcare is provided.

Governance

Acfee works closely with senior government officials, led by our thirteen-member Advisory Board, which includes sitting Health Permanent Secretaries from eight African countries.

Acfee’s Advisory Board provides support and oversight for all Acfee activities and relationships. The advisors meet annually at the African eHealth Forum, the first of which took place in Cape Town in July 2015. Its proceedings are described in a public report Advancing eHealth in Africa. The 2016 meeting will be in Kampala, Uganda.

eHealth for Healthy Africans Initiative

Acfee’s eHealth for Healthy Africans initiative will be implemented across fifteen African countries. Three specific focus areas of the initiative are:

1) National eHealth Strategy and Implementation Planning.
2) eHealth Human Capital Development.
3) eHealth Leadership Development.

High impact investment areas

Learning development aligns well with the second component of Acfee’s work programme for 2016 – 2020. It includes building human capacity to drive African countries eHealth initiatives through Acfee’s network of eight African universities and Acfee’s resources of eHealth curriculum and expanding web-based eHealth implementation toolkit

Acfee recognises the importance of having an impact on people’s lives locally. For eHealth to achieve this, an ecosystem of support is needed.

eHealth’s role in Africa

Successful eHealth connects us with our information in ways that transform what we expect from our health service environment. It changes how we protect our health, how we expect care should be delivered, how we interact with our health workers and how health workers interact with one another. It also helps us reconsider how we respond to numerous service delivery challenges and constraints.

The dynamics of better access to information affect our relationships and our practices, shift power, roles and participation, and create new opportunities for service transformation. Advancing eHealth in Africa is a report from Acfee’s African eHealth Forum, which is a consultation between Acfee and its twelve-member Advisory

Board. The report provides an overview of Acfee and its objectives and explores eHealth’s challenges and opportunities for African countries. The next meeting is scheduled for Kampala, Uganda to be hosted in partnership with Uganda’s Ministry of Health.

Acfee is already engaged with ministries of health and academic institutions in the majority of the target countries.

The African Context

African Development Context

The African Union (AU) 2063 vision calls for action. It envisages “an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in the global arena.” The importance of rekindling “African solidarity and unity of purpose” is a key element and healthy Africans will be essential. eHealth has a substantial role in achieving this vision.

Acfee supports eHealth progress by building a solid strategic foundation, supported by skills transfer to build local capability, regional support and long term sustainability.

Context for Collaboration

Partnership and support for Acfee’s eHealth is consistent with the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness and the Accra Agenda for Action by:

  • Quickening countries’ pace on successful eHealth investment.
  • Strengthening partner countries’ national development strategies and associated operational frameworks for eHealth.
  • ncreasing alignment of aid with partner countries’ priorities, systems and procedures and helping to strengthen and sustain their capacities.
  • Enhancing donors’ and partner countries’ respective accountability to their citizens and parliaments for their development policies, strategies and performance of eHealth investment
  • Defining measures and standards of performance and accountability of partner country systems in public financial management, procurement, fiduciary safeguards for eHealth in line with broadly accepted good practices and their quick and widespread application.
  • Overcoming weaknesses in partner countries’ institutional capacities to develop and implement results-driven national eHealth strategies.
  • Adapt and apply to countries’ differing health, healthcare and eHealth situations and readiness by supporting countries directly.
  • Specify indicators, timetable and targets to manage performance and minimise risks.
  • Monitor and evaluate implementation using Acfee’s socio-economic and financial evaluation eHealth Impact (eHI) methodologies and models.