CHAT Africa

Executive Summary

 

The CHAT Africa program aims at improving health care and medical education in sub-Saharan Africa. It intends to reinforce the African sanitary system acting both local and remotely.

For this purpose, a modern and well-equipped Teaching Hospital will be installed in the capital of an African country. This Center will simultaneously be Faculty of Medicine, Nursing School and a Training Center for Specialists in the different branches of Medicine and Surgery. This Teaching Hospital will have a staff formed initially by expatriates who will be progressively replaced by personnel trained in the Center itself. It will be managed by the promoters of the CHAT Africa project as a non-profit Institution.

The African Teaching Hospital will operate in telematic connection with a consortium of European and American University Hospitals which will support the African Hospital both in medical assistance and teaching activities using the recent advances in telematics and robotics. Each Hospital of the Consortium will dedicate a space of about 80 m2 (called the «African corner») to install the necessary equipment for the connection with the African center. Doctors volunteering to donate 4-6 working hours weekly to the African hospital will be recruited in the Consortium hospitals. These doctors will work remotely for Africa acting from their own hospital and will provide assistance in multiple fields including image diagnosis (CT, MRI, microscopy), robotic ultrasonography, medical consultations, video-conferences for clinical sessions and lessons for students, etc. Thus, the African Teaching Hospital will have an “on-site” staff which will be complemented by an “on-line “staff.

In a later stage, the African University Hospital will be connected telematically with a group of 3 to 4 regional hospitals, thus allowing the transmission of knowledge to reach the periphery of the country. In this organizational structure, the University Hospital located at the capital of the country will play a critical strategic role by supporting regional hospitals not only through telematic communication but also by supplying them with qualified health profesionals. CHAT Africa is a pan-African project. The experience gained with the pilot version in Cameroon, will serve to replicate the model in other African countries.

CHAT Africa is an initiative of the European Chat Africa Federation (ECAF) which embraces the Spanish Fundación NAMA (Fundación Navarra para la Asistencia Medica en África), the French association AFTAMA (Association Française de Télé Assistance Medicale en l´Afrique) and the German association MDAV (Medizin und Digitalisierung in Afrika e.Verein).  The aim is to enlarge the scope and to convert CHAT Africa into a Euro-American project implicating in this initiative the US government and several US University Hospitals.

Different technical and medical institutions and organizations have offered support to the CHAT Africa project including AIS Channel (a company with extensive experience in online transmission of medical knowledge), Patólogos sin Fronteras (an association of Pathologists which provides remote pathological diagnosis to underdeveloped countries) and two Engineering Research Centers, namely i3M Biomedical Engineering Institute and the Tecnalia group.

The cost of the project (including construction and equipment of the hospital, installation of the African corners, telematic connection, management expenses and an operational fund for hospital function during the first year) is 5.5 M euros. It is expected to raise this amount with the participation of State Agencies, large Foundations, big Corporations and private donors.