Leem and Santé en Entreprise (SEE) association have partnered to set up the “Africa Health Caravan” project

Leem and Santé en Entreprise (SEE) association have partnered to set up the “Africa Health Caravan” project, part of the ongoing initiatives that aim to strengthen access to healthcare on the continent. 

This initiative aims to promote Universal Health Coverage among populations in disadvantaged neighborhoods. The device will be deployed on five sites in Abidjan and its surroundings to reach more than 1,500 people.

Since September 28, 2022, the Ivorian government has adopted a decree making Universal Health Coverage compulsory. However, the information and operational deployment issues related to the implementation of the NHS require innovative approaches to reach the populations.

In this sense, the Ministry of Health, Public Hygiene and Universal Health Coverage, wanted Leem, in partnership with the NGO Santé en Entreprise (SEE), to support it in the deployment of a extensive awareness campaign.

Therefore, a multi-disease awareness and advice-screening health caravan will be deployed from December 5 to 9, 2022 in the remote neighborhoods of Abidjan and its agglomeration. In parallel, a digital campaign is organized from December 3 to 11 on social networks.

“Promoting access to quality care is at the heart of Leem’s missions”, assures Philippe Lamoureux, General Manager of Leem. “We have always believed that a better understanding of the disease allows patients to exercise greater control over their own health. I am delighted that Leem can support this approach through these mobile units, whose awareness-raising and information action can, I hope, contribute to raising this public health issue”.

“We are particularly happy to participate alongside Leem and the Ministry of Health in this operation. The caravan will offer remote populations a complete and integrated set of services including information, awareness of risk factors, as well as counseling and screening for HIV, hepatitis B, diabetes, hypertension, and anemia,” said Erick Maville, Managing Director of the NGO Santé en Entreprise (SEE).

Read the interview with Erick Maville, general manager of SEE, to learn more about the project:

Many projects in the field of digital and mobile health are developing. How can these innovations improve the health system? 

COVID-19 has revealed that health systems in Africa are very fragile, particularly in terms of access to diagnosis and screening. There are problems with medical demographics, with a lack of medical personnel. There are also areas that are difficult to access, so a large part of the population remains far from the healthcare system. This is why we currently have many start-ups that are innovating in the health sector by developing applications and solutions for teleconsultation, for example, with a doctor located in the capital, while the patient is in a rural area. But all this still depends on the quality of the network. It is for this reason that projects around mobile health are being set up, either in the form of a health caravan, 

In which countries have these health caravans been established? 

The first health caravans were successfully set up overseas in 2011 for screening for diabetes and high blood pressure. Since 2018, we have then deployed this concept in five countries in Africa; in Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal, Guinea, Cameroon and Burkina Faso, for screening for HIV, malaria, hepatitis and diabetes. Then, from November 14 to 18, the first caravan on the theme of diabetes was launched in Togo. We strongly believe in this way of intervening and hope to develop this project in other countries, notably Benin, Morocco and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

How did you adapt this concept to the context of African countries? 

We deployed these caravans in Africa with a specificity; it was considered that they should have a multi-disease approach. We are thus able to detect five or six pathologies in a single medical device, thanks to rapid tests that allow us to provide an almost immediate result. We therefore avoid that people travel to be tested in a laboratory and then come back to get the result. A whole confidential and protected system has therefore been deployed so that everyone can come and do their multi-disease screening anonymously and free of charge. It is important to specify that we are not a care structure, we do not take care of patients in whom a health problem has been detected. On the other hand, we have health personnel, in particular a doctor present, 

How is this project funded? 

These are private funding. We realize that all these initiatives are mainly carried out by private actors who are mainly NGOs, companies or corporate foundations. Our objective is that these pilot projects, which have a lot of interest in terms of impact and innovation, can also integrate public funding, so that they are sustainable and that this helps their deployment. We’re not there yet, but that’s the point.

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