17-18 October 2022, Stockholm, Sweden: The kick off meeting of the Horizon Europe project HoliCare took place under the coordination of KTH Royal Institute of Technology. The project gathers 14 partners across Africa and Europe with the ambition to holistically bridge the gap between technological excellence, available infrastructures, human capital and health systems to foster local uptake of innovative diagnostic technologies and tackle the challenge of diagnosis, treatment and prevention of lower respiratory tract infections (LRTIs) in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).
Lower respiratory tract infections (LRTIs) are the leading infectious disease cause of death in the world, and among children below the age of 5. They are one of the major Poverty-Related Diseases (PRDs), representing 40% of deaths and 17% of cases reported in sub-Saharan Africa with 2.4 million LRTI-associated deaths reported worldwide in 2016. Prevention of PRDs in sub-Saharan Africa suffers from major technological and non-technological challenges that do not allow high quality healthcare to reach many patients in remote or resource-limited areas: (1) lack of suitable, affordable diagnostics, (2) limited access to the areas of need, (3) unsuitable business models for investments, (4) lack of standardization, quality control and strategies for adoption of diagnostics by the health systems and the end-users.
The HoliCare project aims to develop a holistic approach in healthcare for sub-Saharan Africa by converging four fit-for-purpose Pillars and relevant actions: (1) patient management and epidemic surveillance through innovative and complementary diagnostic technologies, (2) transfer of manufacturing through capacity building, (3) enhancing human capital potential through tailored training, and (4) adoption & implementation through stakeholder engagement and Africa-tailored business models.
The technological strategy of HoliCare relies on a 2-tiered, digitally interfaced diagnostic approach that will:
In parallel, complementary non-technological actions will make sure that the digital, manufacturing and educational infrastructures in Ethiopia, Senegal and Uganda will encompass these technology innovations to facilitate future local product development and deployment:
Granted with almost 8 m€ (including UK contribution) and running for 36 months in the Horizon Europe programme, the HoliCare consortium gathers a unique combination of technical, educational, societal and entrepreneurial expertise in order to transform the current practices of healthcare delivery in sub-Saharan Africa, with Ethiopia, Senegal and Uganda as pioneer countries.
The consortium consists of:
Hahn-Schickard with its proprietary technologies has a major role in the diagnostics pillar of the project, and contributes additionally to the non-technological pillars through the broad expertise of its International Business Development team. Stay tuned for the future developments of this exciting project!