Over the past months, many NGOs and companies have been making solutions available for free to support the African health sector to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic. FMO’s NL Business team provided a total of EUR 850,000 development capital to the following four initiatives from its Development Accelerator Facility, which FMO manages on behalf of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Cordaid Foundation establishes reliable data points based on the FAIR data principles under the VODAN Africa network. FMO’s funds will be used to establish the first African data points in Ethiopia, Uganda and Zimbabwe and to form a governance structure that warrants further roll-out across Africa. The project is undertaken in collaboration with the Go Fair Foundation and Philips Foundation. The first seven data points have already been established, bringing the availability of reliable COVID-19 reporting for policymaking one step closer.
Delft Imaging has developed a cloud-based artificial intelligence solution for COVID-19 screening off a digital thorax image, in cooperation with Thirona. From X-Ray images, an algorithm was developed to screen CT Scan images. The X-Ray solution is now also made ready to include insights from blood samples, which could also allow for detection of other diseases like malaria and tuberculosis. Over 100 health facilities have signed up for the service of which about 80% in low to medium income countries and over 15,000 images have been screened since the launch in April.
PharmAccess introduces the COVID CONNECT app - developed by the Dutch Luscii Healthtech - to the African continent. FMO co-funds the introduction in Ghana as the first African country through the University of Ghana Medical Centre. A local care centre has been established, about 40 doctors have been trained and over 4,000 users have registered. The app is now being rolled-out further to two other hospitals in Ghana, introduced to Nigeria and Kenya, and adapted for COVID-19-related non-communicable diseases using a standard feature phone.
Solvoz focusses on responsible procurement and is currently developing a solutions catalogue and tender platform catered towards, but not limited to, the aid sector. FMO supports Solvoz in the further development and launch of the platform that will enable procurement managers to find the right COVID-19 solutions and procure these. The platform unlocks four domains: prevention and infection control, detection and diagnostics, patient care and public safety. Launch of the platform is scheduled for October.
Janet Nieboer, Director FMO NL Business comments: “I am very proud of the NL Business team and that we are able to support Dutch initiatives for the African health sector. We contacted our existing relationships and selected these four initiatives which we believe will also create value beyond COVID-19. We wish our partners the very best with the initiatives.”
Supporting the Sub-Saharan health system is a key objective of FMO’s NL Business team. We currently empower several of these initiatives in Congo, Kenya and Rwanda, and are looking into other opportunities. Strengthening the health system is important for improving the health and well-being of the population as a basis to gain further economic progress. In addition to these health initiatives, FMO NL Business is also looking at a number of water initiatives for the COVID-19 response. As FMO, we use the Development Accelerator funds to develop sustainable business models which create positive impact and support Dutch interests.