The MSF Foundation response to the Covid-19 crisis
Faced with the global pandemic that affects us all, The Médecins Sans Frontières Foundation has decided to join its efforts with Médecins Sans Frontières in its fight against COVID-19.
Faithful to its commitments to innovation The MSF Foundation has participated, in collaboration with Epicenter and volunteer engineers from Google.org, in the development of electronic platforms in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Free and available in open source, these tools aim to support the surveillance components of the Ministries of Health or to improve the individual follow-up of our patients by sending simple questionnaires by sms.
Strengthen the monitoring of patients with chronic diseases in the DRC
In Goma, DRC, MSF supports 3,000 patients suffering from HIV or tuberculosis. The work of this team is currently complicated by the Covid 19 crisis and its collateral effects on the daily life of the country. Our teams therefore face an increased risk of contamination at the health center or during journeys for these patients who need regular medical monitoring.
The MSF Foundation in partnership with Epicenter and the NGO Medic Mobile, has developed an application that allows the team to communicate with patients via their phone (not necessarily a smartphone) by sending sms and automated questionnaires every days, or every week following the questionnaire. Patient responses trigger an automated triage that allows staff to investigate the most problematic cases in person or over the phone.
The application is in the testing phase with our staff and should be operational in the next few weeks.
More than an isolated application, we try to think through every detail to facilitate the replication of this type of tool in other fields. The automation of the sending of questionnaires directly to patients and the automatic generation of alerts to trigger an action by the medical staff (remote monitoring) have many advantages for the close monitoring of a large number of patients, both during epidemic than in routine surveillance.
Structuring the response to prevent the spread of the epidemic: the Covid19 Alert platform in Niger
The MSF Foundation has launched in Niger, in collaboration with Epicenter, the NGO Medic Mobile and the Ministry of Public Health, an application called Alerte Covid19.
Covid19 Alert is a tool for receiving and investigating Covid19 alerts. It allows community health workers, health workers in dedicated call centers as well as focal points in health centers and hospitals to notify COVID-19 alerts on a dedicated platform. These are then investigated and suspected COVID-19 cases are collected and tested.
It allows to integrate the decentralized aspect of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Niger with a national alert center and regional alert centers.
Contexts and needs are extremely volatile and we are learning about the epidemic every day. The MSF Foundation, thanks to its agility, has the ability to quickly launch small development teams and test the solutions put in place by improving them with our partners and local ministries.
This pandemic has made it possible to accelerate the evolution of our practices, in particular by integrating digitization into our routine activities.
We will spend the next few months evaluating and improving these solutions so that we can extract as much benefit as possible and be able to replicate what really works in other places.