The purpose of the Innovation Hub of La Chaîne de l’Espoir is to facilitate the daily actions of our members and our partners with the use of innovative solutions. The unchanged objective is to help as many vulnerable children as possible.
Extensive projects will be carried out through those innovations. They will rely on the experience of La Chaîne de l’Espoir, on its field network in many developing countries and on its privileged relationships with medical experts in teaching hospitals, in particular in paediatric facilities.
The emergence of streaming in video games has facilitated the creation of increasingly inexpensive hardware for live video recording and encoding. Today, the improved performance of videoconferencing platforms makes it possible to stream in high resolution and to adapt to low-speed access. The worldwide growth of high-speed has resulted in the world average bandwidth to exceed 4Mbps in 2014 (+24% from 2013).
Our idea : a solidarity-based tele-ultrasound portal
Our first step has been the creation of a live distance ultrasound consultation portal. It is primarily designed for the doctors of the partner hospitals of La Chaîne de l’Espoir. Once a week, several referring doctors in France offer distance ultrasound consultations to requesting centres in Africa and South-East Asia.
This project, known as echoes, participates in the transformation of humanitarian action in an increasingly complex international environment.
echoes dramatically improves our ultrasound diagnosis capacity while saving travel expenses.
With echoes, doctors may participate in the humanitarian mission of La Chaîne de l’Espoir and join us in defending the health of vulnerable children without leaving their place of residence.
Treating children suffering from a heart condition remains a challenge worldwide. In developing countries, diagnoses are often delayed due to lack of screening programmes and trained staff (WHO).
Nearly one tenth of the patients operated on by La Chaîne de l’Espoir were misdiagnosed in their country of origin, with terrible consequences for the children. Ultrasound is the decisive examination to make a preliminary diagnosis. The training of the ultrasound technician and his/her capacity to interpret images is the major challenge. Consequences are significant for La Chaîne de l’Espoir as it relies on a network of multiple hospitals in the world. In those hospitals, cardiologists have received excellent training. However, their local teams expand and also need training, and doctors anywhere in the world sometimes require a second medical opinion.
They are already connected...
Since 2015, over 2,000 patients have been seen by our expert doctors in Paris and in France. We regularly connect with our centres in Bamako, Cotonou, Kabul, Phnom Penh and Maputo via the echoes platform. We have also initiated our collaboration with Guinea, Senegal and Vietnam, who have participated several times to our online distance consultations.
As of today, echoes sessions are conducted by seven expert doctors, including Pr Daniel Sidi, Pr Alain Berrebi and Dr Nadir Benbrik.
According to WTO and UNICEF, some 830 women die every day from complications during pregnancy and childbirth. Other WTO and UNICEF reports also indicate that 7,000 newborn babies die every day.
These figures are all the more alarming that the majority of causes of death could be diagnosed and therefore avoided with an early ultrasound examination.
In view of this and with our 3-year experience in consultation in ultrasound cardiology as part of the echoesCARDIO project, we have decided to extend our action to gynaecology and obstetrics.
Our goal is to facilitate access to ultrasound for pregnant women living in developing countries, in order to reduce fatalities.
The echoesGYN programme shall officially start at the end of June 2018 with a first consultation organised with the Luxembourg “Mother-Child” Hospital in Bingerville (Ivory Coast) and conducted by Pr René Frydman. A consultation with Dr Azadah Yakoub and the Mother and Child Centre in Kabul, Afghanistan, is scheduled for July.
In the months to come, we hope to achieve hundreds of consultations every week through the platform. Hospitals outside the initial network of La Chaîne de l’Espoir will be able to join, provided they meet the project specification.
Follow-up, consolidation of links, network expansion
The Innovation Hub is also engaged with its partner service providers in the development of a patient monitoring software.
This software has numerous advantages, it:
- Centralises and secures the data from the patients treated through the various programmes of La Chaîne de l’Espoir.
- Provides a working interface between La Chaîne de l’Espoir and the other NGOs involved in telemedicine, while fostering ever closer cooperation on the different cases requiring ultrasound diagnosis.
- Extracts more accurate statistical data using this new database to better assess our work and publish our results.
This patient monitoring system will be the cornerstone of the action of the Innovation Hub for the year 2018. We are confident that such a project will benefit all the stakeholders of La Chaîne de l’Espoir and incidentally the vulnerable children, whom we help locally on a daily basis.
E-training, a key element in the chain
Since actions make sense only if they produce long-lasting effects, La Chaîne de l’Espoir places the training of the local medical staff at the centre of its missions. The goal of La Chaîne de l’Espoir is to teach the staff the skills they need to become autonomous.
Therefore, the Innovation Hub today strives to develop tools to make medical training as accessible as possible. In this sense, digital technology is a tremendous asset.
An e-learning platform dedicated to La Chaîne de l’Espoir for the local medical personnel is currently being launched.
We also develop comprehensive teaching solutions suited to the needs of countries with a limited access to modern communication means.
Although the term "innovation" might seem abstract, the Innovation Hub of La Chaîne de l’Espoir acts to give it a true operational significance in every project it undertakes.
To conclude, if we wanted to sum up our work in one word, it would be "curiosity"; we look for, we identify and we develop innovative solutions for the teams of La Chaîne de l’Espoir.