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Catalytic funding from Bayer Foundation to accelerate digital health entrepreneurship in LMICs

March 31, 2022 by PATH

The project aims to create an equitable entrepreneurial environment for digital health developers in the places where PATH works by advancing the broad use of common open-source platforms that speed uptake and ensure sustainability.

With a two-year, €2million investment from Bayer Foundation, PATH and Medic are launching the Digital Health Ecosystem (DHE) project. By advancing the broad use of common open-source platforms, the DHE project will aid local entrepreneurs and software developers by enabling faster and wider adoption of new tools, ensuring the sustainability of those tools, and making it easier to adapt the tools in response to health system needs.

“One billion people alive today will never see a doctor in their lifetime,” says Dykki Settle, PATH’s Chief Digital Officer and Director of its Center of Digital and Data Excellence. “System strengthening and system reform are needed at unprecedented scale to ensure people can access the care they need. Investments like Bayer Foundation’s, and projects like DHE can really catalyze the pace of reform.”

The DHE project will focus on the sustainability and expansion of digital tools for community health by changing how they are built, deployed, and scaled. PATH will foster a global network of independent teams collectively building on a common open-source platform, the Community Health Toolkit (CHT). By doing so, developers will have a proven, economically viable digital foundation for their applications. More importantly, health workers will have the tools to improve the quality, speed, and access of equitable care to their communities.

Digital health applications built on open-source platforms like the CHT are growing at massive scale. The CHT alone supports more than 41,000 health workers who are providing care to more than 5.4 million registered households across 15 countries in Africa and Asia. CHT-equipped health workers logged 22.7 million caring actions in 2021 and have supported nearly 70 million caring actions since the first activation of the CHT.

“With Bayer Foundation’s support and successful implementation of this initiative, we expect to see significant growth in care provided by health workers equipped with CHT,” says Leah Ekbladh, Senior Strategy Manager for the Center of Digital and Data Excellence. “And we expect those new implementations will be locally led by CHT community members.”

PATH projects that by 2023, at least eight ministries of health will have selected CHT as part of their community health system and that the CHT community will grow to include 80,000+ health workers supporting more than 61 million annual caring activities—increasing access to care for millions of households in low- and middle-income countries.

“Bayer Foundation is very excited to support last mile health delivery through the CHT with PATH and Medic,” says Dr. Michael Schwall, Senior Adviser to Bayer Foundation. “Community health workers are a central component of health systems in Africa, and along with our vison of a world with ‘Health for All and Hunger for None,’ we committed to do everything to improve their working environment for better care of their patients.”

About Bayer Foundation
Bayer Foundation’s vision is to catalyze advances in science and social innovation for a world with “Health for All and Hunger for None.” The foundation achieves this vision by enhancing the impact of science as the basis for societal progress and by empowering social innovators to enable communities in sub-Saharan Africa to thrive.

About PATH
PATH is a global nonprofit dedicated to achieving health equity. With more than 40 years of experience forging multisector partnerships, and with expertise in science, economics, technology, advocacy, and dozens of other specialties, PATH develops and scales up innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing health challenges.

About Medic
Medic builds world-class open-source software that supports health workers delivering equitable care that reaches everyone. Medic serves as the technical steward and a core contributor to the Community Health Toolkit, an open-source platform that supports health workers as they provide essential care in their own communities.