– Highly prestigious for USN

Doctor and a young patient
The EU project BETTEReHEALTH aims to contribute to better, more accessible, and more efficient health and care services in low and lower middle income countries (LLMICs) in Africa.

USN School of business is a partner in the EU project BETTEReHEALTH. – Significant in many ways for the school and for the university at large, says project coordinator Shegaw A. Mengiste.

The European Commission funded BETTEReHEALTH project aims to contribute to better, more accessible, and more efficient health and care services in low and lower middle income countries (LLMICs) in Africa, by coordinating and supporting the deployment of sustainable eHealth solutions.

BETTEReHEALTH is the first fully funded project at USN School of business. The project runs from 1 January 2021 to 31 December 2022.

– The implication of this is significant in many ways for the school and for the university at large, says associate professor Shegaw Anagaw Mengiste. He is project coordinator for USN in BETTEReHEALTH.

Partners on two continents

The University of South-Eastern Norway, the University Hospital of North Norway and the University of Oslo are the Norwegian partners in the project. The other partners come from the Netherlands, Belgium, Tunisia, Ghana, Ethiopia and Malawi. 

Project coordinator Mengiste describes USN's participation in the EU project as highly prestigious, as it will increase the universities’ ranking at an international level.

– Besides, participating in such large scale projects with multiple stakeholders both from Europe and Africa is in line with the internationalization strategy of USN as it will create a platform to tackle global challenges and ensure sustainable development goals by creating opportunities for better health, education, and access to resources to disadvantaged groups, Mengiste says.

New alliances and network for USN

The project will map and identify various human, technical and public policy factors that are a barrier, or on the contrary, an enabler for eHealth implementation, and from there derive strategies and policies for more successful use of eHealth, and thus better health.

At the same time, BETTEReHEALTH also supports the development of new and existing strategic partnerships on the African continent, as well as between European and African stakeholders in healthcare, research, education, business and government.

– This particular project will mainly focus on creating better eHealth access to disadvantaged communities in Africa in collaboration with European partners. The project will also create a good platform for USN to establish new alliances and networks; raise the profile of the university through  research in an international project, sharing expertise and experiences with different stakeholders at a global level, Mengiste explains.

This networking, partnership building and exchange of knowledge is evidenced by the four regional hubs that are being set up in Tunisia, Ghana, Ethiopia and Malawi, already endorsed by each country's Ministry of Health, which is important, as strong ownership of national eHealth programs is crucial to their success.

Participation in various areas

BETTEReHEALTH will create open access registries with information on eHealth policies and solutions. The registries will be used to identify best practices and provide useful knowledge on eHealth implementation.

– Staff from USN school of business and Faculty of Health sciences will participate in different work packages of the project, Mengiste says.

USN will mainly take role in:

  • researching existing resources and evidences in eHealth registry in different partner countries;
  • capacity building and empowerment of end users, managers, and other stakeholders in digital health, eHealth registry systems
  • study the  challenges  and mechanisms to ensure interoperability of systems, standardization and technical infrastructures in the context of partner countries.

The aim is that this information will lead to well informed policy roadmaps and strategic implementation plans for better eHealth services for the four countries hosting the regional hubs, but will also be of high relevance for all other African countries who will be involved in the project.