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New alliance aims to empower Community Health Workers and patients throughout Africa

November 30, 2021

Since the date of issue, this information is now out of date and has been archived. It has been made available for reference.

SNOMED International and New Zealand-based The Sovereignty Network are pleased to share news of an alliance that has started to address child and maternity health in Africa through Sovereignty’s "Ejo Health" SNOMED CT encoded application. 

In Rwanda, where the initiative was piloted, “Ejo Health” means “Tomorrow’s Health.” Chronicling the initiative in a recently created feature video, Community Healthcare Workers transformed cumbersome paper records into easily accessible, transferable and measurable healthcare data on iPads or Android tablets for the benefit of their patients. Encoded patient data also has the potential to be made available to the breadth of the care network that the patient engages with. 

Configured with Community Health Workers, staff and senior district administrators, Initial use of the Ejo Health app shows it to be "Quicker, Safer, Easier and Relevant." 

  • Quicker: What once took 20 minutes to complete on paper-based forms has been reduced to five minutes through the use of the Ejo Health application on an iPad.

  • Safer: The likelihood of transcription errors has been greatly reduced through specific selection criteria and automated calculations (e.g. drug dosages).

  • Easier: Community Health Workers no longer need to haul around 12-16kg of paper every day.

  • Relevant: Three SNOMED CT-encoded language options (English, French and Kinyarwanda) can be switched interchangeably depending on which language the Community Healthcare Worker prefers.

Mr. Nepo Kwizera, a 19-year veteran Community Health Worker, says, “Ejo Health is the greatest technological advance I have seen for our healthcare delivery for more than a decade, when RapidSMS allowed us for the first time to send and receive real-time patient data, even in rural villages.” To experience the impact of the application piloted in Rwanda, watch Ejo Health: Delivering Health Outcomes in Africa featured on YouTube.

The Ejo Health app is powered by The Sovereignty Network’s Cure8Health, a software application designed from the ground up for all specialties of healthcare providers that want to harness SNOMED CT and FHIR data standards with “keyboard and mobile-ready” apps that immediately improve productivity, reduce errors and increase patient satisfaction. With an initial pilot  successfully delivered, the alliance aims to scale out its footprint to improve the factors that comprise the WHO’s Human Development Index - promoting health, education and financial opportunity in low-income countries throughout Africa and worldwide. With a particular focus on reducing inequity for women, the goal is to transform maternity and child health delivery through easy-to-use modules on tablets and phones. Designed for mobile platforms, the app features a patient-friendly interface and multilingual capabilities to enable the broadest possible usage throughout the continent.  

The ability to work offline and sync to a FHIR server upon detecting an internet connection will soon be added. With SNOMED CT terminology and FHIR data exchange standards natively built into the app, integration with electronic health records such as OpenMRS, an open-source EMR widely used throughout Africa, will enable linkages to existing patient records via a National Unique Identifier. 

Owned and governed by 41 Member countries, SNOMED International is a not-for-profit organization charged with setting global standards for health terminology, a critical element of safe and effective healthcare. Its core terminology product, SNOMED CT, is owned, administered and developed by SNOMED International and establishes vocabulary that enables the clear exchange of health information across all health systems, services and products in the world. 

The Sovereignty Network enables providers across the health industry to save time and deliver better care by accessing open and standardised data. The patient/consumer is at the heart of this process, and by accessing and sharing their information to drive better health outcomes, they help improve health equity for all, deliver better population health data and unlock opportunities for innovation in care.  

“We are delighted to partner with SNOMED International on this groundbreaking initiative," said The Sovereignty Network Founder and CEO Hamish MacDonald. "As global organizations that share a common interest in improving patient outcomes and reducing health inequities around the world, we believe our combined contributions to this initiative will truly have a positive impact on the lives of African citizens and beyond. We are empowering people to be able to access, own, share and even choose to profit from their own healthcare data.” 

SNOMED International CEO Don Sweete agrees. “This joint initiative brings to life our vision of better health and universal improved patient outcomes supported by one language of health, and we look forward to participating in such a worthy and forward-looking undertaking.” 

Both organizations will continue to share more of the alliance’s progress in Africa in the coming months. 

For more information, visit The Sovereignty Network and the SNOMED International websites.

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