Paris, 4 April 2011 – The European Space Agency (ESA), in cooperation with the European Commission and the Telemedicine Task Force (TTF), has awarded the SAHEL demonstration project (Satellite African e-HEalth Validation) to a consortium led by Airbus Defence and Space.
The demonstrator, which will be installed in Kenya and Senegal, will play a key role in the development of the future Pan-African telemedicine network. The project is scheduled to last 18 months.
The technical solution to be introduced includes three types of e-health services:
The full potential of satellite-based broadband internet services
Two pilot sites have been selected to test the project deployment: hospitals in the Tambacounda region of Eastern Senegal, and the Kajiado District Hospital in Kenya. The latter employs four doctors and 62 nurses for a population of 630,000 people.
In addition to offering excellent bandwidth, satellite-based solutions can be rolled out quickly, need only a minimum of communications infrastructure (a dish, a modem and electricity from solar panels or wind turbines where necessary), and can cover a whole country.
Through this setup, satellite-based telemedicine can meet two essential needs of Africa's people: decentralized medical care and better communications.
“One of the keys to success for SAHEL is that it must be perfectly adapted to the needs of African users,” explained Patricia Inigo, who is in charge of the project at Airbus Defence and Space. “That's why we have to get a firm grasp on all their different needs so that we can build a telemedicine platform to meet them.”
To this end, a major survey will be conducted over six months to analyse these needs in the Sub-Saharan countries concerned.
The SAHEL partners will be working with healthcare professionals and centres of excellence that provide medical care adapted to the targeted environments. NGOs will be part of the programme too, as they will help implement, monitor and assess the activities in the field.
An economic analysis will also be conducted to guarantee the long-term viability of the services post-project, as well as to see if the programme can be deployed outside the pilot sites to other parts of the Sub-Saharan region.
Airbus Defence and Space Spain is leading the project, and is responsible for the integration and the demonstration phase. Airbus Defence and Space is also working with the following entities: SES ASTRA (Luxembourg) is defining the required services and supplying the fixed broadband internet access via satellite, INDRA (Spain) will be supplying the telemedicine platform, and the Université Médicale Virtuelle Francophone UNF3S (France) will be providing the medical training curriculum in French for the e-learning. These technologies and skills will all be made available to LE KINKELIBA, an organisation that has been active in the healthcare field in Eastern Senegal for more than 15 years, and to the AMREF (African Medical Research Foundation), headquartered in Kenya and recognised worldwide for its many contributions to the development of health care services in Africa.
About Airbus Defence and Space
Airbus Defence and Space is the number one company in Europe for space technologies and a wholly owned subsidiary of AIRBUS Group, dedicated to providing civil and defence space systems and services.
In 2010, Airbus Defence and Space had a turnover of €5 billion and more than 15,000 employees in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain and the Netherlands. Its three main areas of activity are Airbus Defence and Space for launchers and orbital infrastructure, Airbus Defence and Space for spacecraft and ground segment, and Airbus Defence and Space for comprehensive end-to-end solutions covering secure and commercial satcoms and networks, high security satellite communications equipment, bespoke geo-information and navigation services worldwide.
AIRBUS Group is a global leader in aerospace, defence and related services. In 2010, the Group – comprising Airbus, Airbus Defence and Space, Cassidian and Eurocopter – generated revenues of € 45.8 billion and employed a workforce of nearly 122,000.
Daniel Mosely (Airbus Defence and Space UK) Tel.: +44 (0)1 438 77 8180
Astrid Emerit (Airbus Defence and Space FR) Tel: +33 (0) 1 77 75 80 36
Ralph Heinrich (Airbus Defence and Space GER) Tel.: +49 (0) 89 607 33971
Francisco Lechón (Airbus Defence and Space SP) Tel.: +34 91 586 37 41