The following are the outputs of the captioning taken during an IGF intervention. Although it is largely accurate, in some cases it may be incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors. It is posted as an aid, but should not be treated as an authoritative record.
>> ANNE‑RACHEL INNE: It looks like we are truly successful in having a lot of you here, so thank you for joining us. I see that a few people are standing up. I hope you can sustain the full day on this. I would like to welcome Minister Molla for joining us today and Your Excellencies, the Ambassadors who are here with us. And all of our colleagues with whom we organized this session today.
And these are Huawei, the different countries that have been supporting the Connect2Recover ITU, Australia, Japan, private sector, again, as I said, so really thank you all for being here with us. So, again, your Excellency Mr. Molla, dear friend Julia, Ambassador of Australia to Ethiopia, Your Excellencies, Ambassadors, distinguished guests, partners, colleagues, thank you for being here with us today.
Good morning, afternoon or good evening actually to all of the people who are joining us remotely, because as you know this is a hybrid session. So we really would like to thank all of the ones who are joining us online, and say that we thank you for being with us today.
And welcome to the Best Practices and Recommendations for Digital Inclusion Through Resilient Infrastructure. This is what we are going to talk about the whole day today. So I would like to express my gratitude to Your Excellency, Dr. Belete Molla for being here with us. He is the Minister of innovation and technology for Ethiopia, and he has been gracious to be with us here today.
I would like to thank Dr. René Arnold for the Connect2Recover research competition in July 2021 and in supporting today's event. Today we are pleased to launch the 15 research reports that this competition produced along with ITU publication titled Build Back Better with Broadband: Research stories from the front line.
This is it. And I'm really proud to say that the team worked really, really hard to make this happen, and I would like to also say thank you to all of the universities who participated through this process because it is important that research becomes something crucial on the continent. Our universities have been left behind for too long in what they can actually do to make sure that they can help our communities.
To thank you for all who participated and we are really hoping that this 15 laureate will inspire all of the ones who are here online and everywhere else. The Laut of the 15 reports today and the important research findings they hold within them is another important step to advance Connect2Recover's mission.
The research findings share best practices and lessons learned, especially on the role of digital infrastructure during times of crisis, such as, of course, the COVID‑19 pandemic, and to Build Back Better in the aftermath of this crisis.
Today we have the privilege of hearing from the researchers who conducted the studies and gathered insights on ways forward for digital inclusion in health, education, job creation and for vulnerable groups as well as for digital connectivity and resilience. I would like to point out that the UNESCO, ITU UNESCO Broadband Commission, the Working Group on smartphone access and the ongoing ITU/World Bank Open Data Initiative both complement and credibility to Connect2Recover's mission.
Their inclusion in today's agenda is an acknowledgment that working together we can achieve our mission of global digital inclusion and ensure that communities everywhere are equipped with strong and resilient digital infrastructure that can help them with stand crises.
Let me extend a special welcome to all participants who will be following the discussion today. We value your presence, as I said before and our moderators will help to make also experiences of the one score aligned worthwhile. I would like to encourage you to closely examine the recommendations put forth by these reports. They are online, by the way, and you can go and look them up and read them while we are talking and discussing today. You can see how they might apply to your local contexts and develop implementation plans that truly work to bridge the digital divide in your societies.
With that I wish you an excellent and insightful day with all of us here. Thank you very much.
I would like now to invite Ambassador Julia Niblett to deliver her remarks and thank you for being with us.
>> JULIA NIBLETT: Thank you. Good morning Excellencies, the Minister for Innovation and Technology of Ethiopia, Dr. Belete Molla, ambassadors, guests. I would like to begin by extending sincere thanks to the Government of Ethiopia and to His Excellency Belete Molla, the Minister with us today for hosting IGF.
I would also like to congratulate ITU on the successful delivery of the first research competition and Connect2Recover initiative.
Congratulations on the research proposals to accelerate digital inclusion across the globe in the post COVID environment. As data shows us, inequalities in the physical world are also reflected in the digital realm. The impact of the COVID‑19 pandemic serves as another reminder of the disparity between those who have accession to live saving opportunities and those who do not. So promoting an inclusive disability society is a top priority for Australia.
Meaningful inclusion of indigenous communities, women and girls, youth and people with disabilities will ensure that everyone benefits from digital transformation. I'd like to express Australia's appreciation for the work of the Telecommunications Bureau and its current Director soon to be the ITU Secretary‑General, Ms. Doreen Bogdan‑Martin for driving the work of connecting the unconnected and bridging digital divides.
Secretary‑General‑Elect Doreen Bogdan‑Martin has been a strong advocate for equal accession to the Internet and ITU's Connect2Recover initiative established under her leadership exemplifies this dedication. This initiative is a direct response to the pressure points highlighted by COVID‑19 addressing the ICT infrastructure and ecosystem needs in diverse regions as they recover from the pandemic.
Australia is a strong supporter of a tailored approach, and we appreciated the opportunity to join the Connect2Recover Steering Committee and to provide $400,000 for a multiyear project to foster and enhance digital connectivity in the Asia and Pacific region, which is our region.
The C2R International Research Competition held by ITU on the first time highlights the evidence‑based approaches to solving complex problems. I would like to thank all of the multinational research teams for their efforts and to congratulate the Connect2Recover partners and sponsors on a successful outcomes.
I would like to convey gratitude for ITU's role in facilitating connections with Governments, industry, research institutions and most importantly with communities. These connections were key to collecting data and making concrete, specific and implementable recommendations on building resilient connectivity.
This brings me to my last point, the importance of multi‑stakeholder engagement and collaboration as we work together to achieve goals of universal connectivity and sustainable digital transformation. The multi‑stakeholder approach to Internet Governance has underpinned the Internet success to dates and Australia remains a strong supporter of a free, open, safe, secure and interconnected Internet Internet that fosters extraordinary innovation and economic growth.
A decentralized governance model places individual industry, non‑commercial, and Government interests on the same level. This means that all stakeholders are able to contribute to discussions on the technical management and policy of the Internet. It also ensures the development of the global Internet is equally shaped by Governments, by the private sector, by academia, the technical community, and, of course, importantly civil society.
Australia strongly supports the role of the IGF as a non‑binding platform to facilitate common understanding of Internet‑related public policy issues and the exchange of knowledge throughout the multi‑stakeholder community.
Thank you very much for coming today and I wish you all a very productive and informative forum thank you.
>> MODERATOR: Thank you very much Your Excellency Julia Niblett. These were insightful remarks and I'm happy that you are here with us to make sure that the cooperation with Australia continues.
I would like to now introduce Mr. Karl Song, the Vice President corporate communications department at Huawei. Huawei is a partner of Connect2Recover initiative, and they have been providing us support for the research competitions and we thank them again for being our partners today in this event. Is Mr. Karl Song here?
>> KARL SONG: Yes. Can you hear me?
>> MODERATOR: He is online.
>> KARL SONG: Yes, can you hear me?
>> MODERATOR: Mr. Song is online.
>> KARL SONG: Yes, can you hear me?
>> MODERATOR: The floor is yours, Mr. Song.
>> KARL SONG: Thank you Ms. Anne‑Rachel Inne, we come to all of you have China. It is a pity that I cannot be with you in Addis in person, but I am with you in spirit. From 2007 to 2013 I have worked for Huawei for so many years. Even today I still have a very good memory, a lot of memory of Africa, and continuously think about the exciting and dedicated time there. My special regard to the ITU team starring Alex, Sameer, Tarin and Kuka as well as all of the research team who have made this research publication a successful story.
The work that has gone into the product really made me proud, and it's true to the core of Huawei's mission to "Leave No One Behind" in our striving for a fully connected intelligent world. Connectivity for people everywhere is a foundation for an intelligent world but it also means innovation in the other layers of inclusion network with processing and services benefiting everyone.
This has to be met by the site scale equipping user to make the most of these new solutions. As a sector member of ITU‑D, we fully align with the goal of connecting the unconnected and offering training to those who still need to update their digital skills. This reflects not just in our engagement to the C2R initiative, but also our pledge under the ITU's Partner2Connect initiative announced only five days ago by our Chairman.
First, we need to act together. To me recommendations from the research team broadly falls into three categories. First, we need to step up our efforts to extend the nature of the remaining global gaps. We can learn from the measures taken during the pandemic which have accelerated digitalization all around the world dramatically.
Second, we need to innovative solution for network rollout in areas where they are most needed, a lot of remote areas. This means taking the role that Global South.
Third, we must find a way to tackle the special challenges in local community. This includes project to teach online skills and to promote local content creations. We worked on the first two rounds of digital training in the Ministry of Education on empowering women with digital skills just last week.
And today is the last of our eight day future online training program in Ethiopia on technology such as 5G, Cloud Computing and AI for more than 60 students from different local universities. We do all of this because the time to act is now. And we will try to make the most of the insight gained by the research project and the ten selected recommend ‑‑ turn selected recommendations into realities. Specifically we as the ITU are about to launch a project in Kenya that builds directly on the recommendation of one of the teams' reports.
We were involved the research team in providing further recommendations and guidance as well as work with policy maker and our customers, suppliers partners for the new initiative. To conclude, I would like to congratulate you all again for the contribution to find most efficient way for connecting the unconnected. Huawei takes this insight seriously and is set to act upon them.
I wish you a most successful event today and many good exchange at the Internet Governance form in Addis Ababa. Thank you very much.
>> MODERATOR: You all here in Addis Ababa, when was the last time that we had a IGF person, so welcome everybody and I would like on behalf of all of you, ITU and all of our colleagues, thank Ethiopia for hosting us here and for hosting the IGF2022.
Now, I would like to give the floor to His Excellency, Dr. Belete Molla for his remarked.
>> BELETE MOLLA: Good morning, good afternoon, good evening Excellencies, honorable Ambassadors, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, it is such a great pleasure for me to welcome you to this Best Practices and Recommendations for Digital Inclusion Through Resilient Infrastructure event which is part of the IGF2022 organized by the ITU.
Ladies and gentlemen, creating digital acute requires creating a situation where all individuals and communities have the digital capacity needs for full participation in the society, democracy and economy. Result digital acute, it is possible to ensure equal participation in civic and cultural activities, employment opportunities, and access to essential services.
Unless there is a coordinated effort by the stakeholders, the gap then those who have affordable access, skills and support effectively engage online and those who do not is expanding to the worst. In this regard, ITU's effort to contribute to the cause is quite remarkable. Initiatives like the Connect2Recover which envision to ensure available, affordable and resilient digital infrastructure should be expanded and supported so that they cannot reach the challenge of the Least Developed Countries.
Ladies and gentlemen, building a resilient infrastructure is at the core of the digital transformation agenda of Ethiopia. In the last three years, Ethiopia has scored remarkable achievements in reforming the ICT sector. There are also efforts in connecting schools and health facilities throughout the country, reforming the legal and regulatory environment to build a strong national ecosystem is also under way.
We are also in the process of launching a national study to define the national broadband plan, however despite the recent significant growth of mobile and Internet subscribers, significant parts of the Ethiopiaian population still do not have access to the Internet. The Government of Ethiopia will continue its effort to ensure a meaningful access to the Internet by citizens.
The Government also welcomes partners who can collaborate and join the Government effort to ensure the digital transformation of Ethiopia.
Ladies and gentlemen, this event which is organized by the ITU has a very special significance. The title of the research are relevant to resilient Internet for future which is a main theme of IGF2022. I hope the research presented on this workshop will help us to understand challenges we learned from the experiences of others as well as help to get valuable insights on the IGF2022 core team of resilient Internet and common future.
I would like to thank the organizers and contributors to this workshop, once again, thank you very much for coming and wish you all a successful discussion. Thank you.
>> MODERATOR: Thank you very much Your Excellency. I would like to acknowledge one more person in our middle, that is the Minister of Information and digitalization in Malawi. Thank you for being with us, sir. Wonderful.
Would you maybe want to say a few words or? We are happy to have you whichever way.
Thank you so much, sir. All right. So thank you for this Dr. Molla. We are going to now ask for a video to be played. Thank you so much. Go ahead.
>> And ensure the resiliencecy remains even in times of hazards. With this in few the ITU Connect2Recover initiative organized a research competition on the role of broadband to ensure digital inclusion during the COVID‑19 pandemic. The selected 15 winning projects cover 17 countries in Africa, Asia‑Pacific, Americas and Arab States. The research shows that though the use of broadband digital technologies were critical during the pandemic, there were barriers in accessing online education, financial services and healthcare services affecting students, small businesses vulnerable groups, and isolated rural communities.
Nevertheless, there is a silver lining. By focusing on the lessons learned from these 15 published research reports, we can overcome these barriers through accessibility, adoption, affordability of broadband services, resilient digital infrastructure, digital skills, and revamping policies and regulations to meet post pandemic needs. Well credibility to meaningful connectivity which in turn enables development and a better future can be built with broadband. For more information, visit www.INTI18/connect2Recover.
>> MODERATOR: Please go ahead for your remarks.
>> COWIN CAO: Thank you very much.
Thank you very much. Dear friends new and old, near and afar, good morning. It's an honour to be here with you in Addis, the capital and home to the African Union, at Huawei we feel very privileged to have this opportunity to work with the winning teams of the Connect2Recover research competition since the summary of 2021. The great things that have been built, the launch of the reports and the published, and, of course the group photo taken for us a truly the global project has helped us learn a great deal about which gaps still remain and how each party can contribute to building back better during the recovery.
With connectivity, it is central and very important to our labs. The connectivity is making lives easier and has economic strong environment and let me share a couple of stories of our own Huawei journey to reinforce ecosystems worldwide.
The first story is about house. We will hear from Dr. Lawn from Nigeria how mobile health applications based on broadband can improve the concrete health service.
We have been working with a platform in Nigeria that connects health bank and blood banks to donors. The platform offers real time access to blood and oxygen products and guarantees service end to end for sourcing and location to tracking and delivery.
When a hospital needs blood urgently, it can log in and submit a request. They use mobile location service to find the quickest route. This gets blood to the patients who need it urgently. It has been able to cut delivery time from up to one day to less than an hour. The second story is about financial inclusion. One of the topics of our third panel today under the theme of Dr. Musogo's presentation apart from the publication you can also learn from about his work in the latest edition to transform. This is his newest publication. And this is the magazine where we launched earlier this year. It was printed for the COP 27. We have included four of the 15 research reports to highlight the diversity of approach and the context approached by all of the projects with reasons to connect.
Ethiopia telecom launched Televir and we are proud of that. We are proud of this great link with our partner. People can now use app to deposit, withdraw money on their phones even without downloading the app. They can still register user to enjoy the same service.
It is another example of how advancements in connectivity can make transactions easier and transform our life for the better. We support the effort to build a detailed infrastructure especially in key areas such as education, healthcare, and job creation.
The private sector can contribute we stand for more than 30 years, Huawei has approached the boundary of the ICT and promoted adoption. By working closely with our reach worldwide, we have built or 1500 networks and connected more than 3 billion people, 170 countries and regions.
Our rural solutions have connected people from after from a to cover developing regions. By the end of 2021 Euro star solutions has helped connect more than 60 million people in remote areas in more than 70 countries and just a few days ago, we made a pledge to ITU's Partner2Connect program that by 2025 Huawei's IT solution will bring connectivity to 120 million people in remote area from over 80 countries. Many of the reports are reviewed, connecting people is only the first step.
Gaps remain between need and deprivation, technology and implementation and between policy and practice. And that is exactly why we are here to represent bridge these gaps bit a bit. As my colleague well said, we will seek to make the moment of insight improved by research projects. We intend to turn selected recommendations into reality by working with the ITU, the relevant policy makers as well as our customers, suppliers and partners.
Congratulations, once again, to all 15 research teams. My sincere gratitude goes to the ITU team and our colleagues at IGF for making today possible. And on that note, let me conclude with a wish for lovely and productive exchange of ideas for the rest of this day. Thank you very much for your attention. Thank you.
>> MODERATOR: Thank you, Mr. Cao. Now, we are going to do a little basically ceremony to launch the reports which are here so I'm going to ask Dr. Molla to basically cut the ribbon by opening it. Let's see.
There we go.
And everybody else can download them online. They are already there, so please do that because I think they are really very instructive. So Sameer, I'm not sure how we do this because we are supposed to have a group photo. How is this going to work? But maybe just make sure that everybody online can we maybe wait for like 30 seconds so that everybody who is online can have a photo, and we can ‑‑ I think we can arrange the rest with all of the pictures that we are having here. Yes.
>> Yes, that's correct, we are having online participants. I hope they are listening because I am logged in here. So we can have a photo online as well as here.
>> MODERATOR: Wonderful. That means we can just proceed. Wonderful! This is all done. Now, I would like to ask Mr. Matthew Harrison‑Harvey, and he is one of our partners and he is going to talk to us about the ITU UNESCO Brad band permission Working Group on smartphone access. Thank you.
>> MATTHEW HARRISON-HARVEY: Good day, everyone. Your Excellencies, chairperson, Minister ITU and distinguished guests here in Addis and also online in the world.
Thank you for inviting me to speak today on the important work of the UN Broadband Commission's Working Group on smartphone access. Today I'm representing Ethiopia, we are the second unified telecommunications service licensed in Ethiopia. We are also the proud partner and sponsor of this year's IGF in Ethiopia.
Smartphone from Ethiopia was licensed last year following a process owned by the Ethiopia Government, the ministry, the Ethiopiaian communications authority and we were very proud to win that second telecommunications license very much focused on partnering with Government on its digital transformation and inclusion objectives discussed by the Minister earlier.
We have recently launched, we launched a couple of months ago and just a few weeks ago, we achieved our first million customers. And that's just the start. Our mission is to focus on working with partners, the Government, the communities of Ethiopia to transform lives for digital future, which is very consistent with what we are here today to talk about.
One of our shareholders is the Vodafone Group's CEO Mr. Nick Reid is Commissioner and Co‑Chair of the UN Broadband Commission Working Group on Smartphone Access. And today I'm really proud to have been asked to share an update of this essential work. More than ever people are wanting to be connected to the Internet. 4.9 billion, around 63% of the world's population globally are now connected.
That's an increase of 17% over the last three years. Mobile phones continue to be the primary way and in many cases the only way for people to access the Internet. 4.3 billion, around 55% of the world's population are using Internet through mobile devices and Smart Phones. However 2.7 billion people cannot and are enabled to access the Internet.
Changing this is the mission for all of us who are here today. The socioeconomic benefits of doing so are well understood. The World Bank study concluded that 10% increase in Internet adoption will lead to an increase in GDP of just over 1% in low, middle income countries, and another study confirms that an increase of 10% in mobile Internet penetration would yield an increase of 2.5%.
Here in Ethiopia, the Government has set objectives in its digital Ethiopia 2025 strategy and in the national ten‑year development plan and has taken decisions including the licensing of Safaricom Ethiopia to ensure all Ethiopiaians benefit from digital transformation and inclusion.
To achieve these objectives, we all need to work together to address the barriers to inclusion. The barriers are well documented in many reports, like the one we have just heard, reports by the IGF, reports by the Broadband Commission and other studies.
One of the barriers, and this is why I'm here today is accessibility of smartphones, at the end of 2021 14% of the world's population, around 3.2 billion people are not using mobile Internet despite living in areas where there is mobile Internet and broadband coverage. This is why last year the ITU UNESCO Broadband Commission Working Group on Smartphone Access was launched to conduct a multistakeholder analysis and to identify actionable recommendations to address this challenge.
A report which we are very proud to be involved in was published in September 2022 called Strategies Towards University Smartphone Access. This Working Group is now continuing its work Co‑Chaired by the CEO of Vodafone group, the UN High Representative for Least Developed Countries and the ITU Secretary‑General‑Elect. They see the potential to undertake collaborative and concrete actions through pilots to address the gaps identified in this report and the recommendations to increase smartphone ownership and use.
It is in this context we are pleased to share some information for consideration and discussion in the coming, coming days to work on the actions of the Broadband Commission's task force. The aim is to put forward a proposal to the Broadband Commission leadership for consideration at its spring meeting next year in 2023 as an extension to take the recommendations of the report and deliver sustainable and impactful actions and delivery to increase access to smartphones and access to the Internet.
We are currently formulating a proposal and want to take the opportunity to share with you some of the thinking as we are in Ethiopia about how we can bring this be ‑‑ Ethiopia about how we can bring this asking force action to live in Ethiopia. Working in partnership with the Government, the UN Broadband Commission and many other stakeholders to increase smartphone ownership and use in Ethiopia, and also through these pilots across Africa.
Specifically in line with Safaricom Ethiopia and our shareholder commitment to partner with the Government and other key stakeholders on transforming lives or digital future, we wish to explore with stakeholders to partner on the establishment of a Working Group pilot in Ethiopia on smartphone accessibility.
This could include building on the recommendations of the report I referred to earlier, finance and subsidy funding mechanisms, policy and regulatory decisions including investment incentives and taxation to reduce the supply chain costs ant the costs of devices and smartphone systems, increasing digital literacy, languages and skills development to use the devices and the services and a program for devices introducing both smartphone accessibility and helping to address the increasing issue of E‑waste.
We look forward to exploring if we can work together on this proposed smartphone pilot in Ethiopia with all of the partners, and this will complement the significant initiatives undertaken by the Ethiopia Government, the Ethiopiaian communications authority, the licensees and other stakeholders to achieve Ethiopia's digital transformation and inclusion objectives. We work further ahead together with the mission of transforming lives for digital future. Thank you.
>> MODERATOR: Thank you very much Matthew. And for everybody here who has been involved in digital in Africa, I think we all remember that making equipment accessible to communities is one of the things we have talked for a long time, for the longest time, I would say.
So as, again, I think I few of you said, it's time to walk the talk and make sure that equipment is really making it to people, but not simply just regular equipment, ones as Matthew said that can also recognize, speak our languages, because we absolutely need to be cognizant that in Africa, 60 to 80% of our populations are rural, and they really do not speak the language that we are speaking here today.
So I'm truly looking forward, Dr. Molla that we work with you and all stakeholders in Ethiopia to kind of give us a great case, case study that a lot of the other countries may want to look forward to and implement also. Thank you Matthew. And the Broadband Commission report that he is referring to is also online if any of you want to go see it and download it to be read. Thank you.
So after this, I would like to introduce my colleagues, Sameer Sharma. He is senior, one of our Senior Advisors at ITU and Ms. Alice Munyua, Senior Director Africa Mradi at Mozilla Corporation to share with us the ITU/World Bank Open Data Initiative.
Thank you both.
>> SAMEER SHARMA: Thank you Anne‑Rachel Inne and excellency Dr. Belete Molla innovation of technology Ethiopia, honorable Minsters, Ambassador, Ms. Julia Niblett, and Ambassadors, Excellencies, colleagues, ladies and gentlemen, good morning to all of you.
It is my deep honour and I extend my sentiments along with my colleague Anne‑Rachel Inne that we are very grateful for hosting this Connect2Recover initiative here in Ethiopia. It's my first visit to this beautiful city and this country. It could not have been a better venue than hosting this IGF here so thank you so very much. We are very grateful for this opportunity.
I have the pleasure and the honour to copresent along with my colleague, Ms. Alice Senior Director from Mozilla Corporation to introduce ITU World Bank initiative unlocking affordable Internet on open data.
As many of you will be aware that ITU has been collecting a lot of data in terms of optical fiber where the deployment is there, Internet exchange data, microwave deployment, and all of those data because in the UN system, ITU is the only agency which provides authority Tative statistics and data. This data is relevant because we are talking about bridging the digital divide, meaningful connectivity, and if we know where the gaps have been bridged or more importantly where the gaps are still yet to be bridged so that the investment can be directed to bridge. Fortunately ITU has this initiative of ITU broadband transmission maps. I used to work with the ITU Regional Office in Asia and Pacific. Now, I'm based in Geneva on detachment and that's why excellency with the Government of Australia we implemented several projects, very grateful for your support to the region. The problem with that is that this data may not be open because there are a lot of non‑disclosure elements involved, so which poses a lot of challenges. So it may not be available for, let's say, industry. Who would want to make investment?
So data, even though it is available, they may not have full access or researchers who are present here would like to provide concrete recommendations so this is not available. So in order to fill this gap, ITU and the World Bank late last year had decided along with the industry, including our partner, Mozilla as well as liquid telecom, Internet Society, digital consult for Africa and many other partners that we must do something together so that we bring together all of the data in the public domain so that it is available, open, transparently and in a manner that it would be used for the benefit of providing infrastructure to the public.
We also established a Steering Committee meeting, the Steering Committee which guides this initiative, and we have a short presentation, so I would like to first invite my colleague, Alice to take you through briefly and it will be a short presentation. Alice, over to you.
>> ALICE MUNYUA:
>> ALICE MUNYUA: Ministry of Technology and innovation, excellency Ambassadors, distinguished guests, partners in this room and online participating remotely, ladies and gentlemen, my name is Alice Munyua from Mozilla Corporation, and we would really like to thank the Government of Ethiopia for hosting the 2022 IGF.
This is the third happening inning in the African continent the first was in Egypt, the second was in Kenya, and now Ethiopia. So very proud of all of this. Thank you very much for the invitation to speak this morning on behalf of the group of partners Sameer mentioned here working together on the open telecom project.
I would like to congratulate Anne‑Rachel and her team and the ITU and all of the partners for this publication and for launching the publication. Congratulations.
So for those who don't know what Mozilla is. Mozilla is a vibrant global community with a mission to promote openness, innovation and opportunity on the Web. We are globally known for our popular web browser, FireFox. I hope everybody is using FireFox right now.
We believe the Internet is a global resource, public resource that should be open and accessible to all. As we strive to be a trusted guide to the Internet.
>> SAMEER SHARMA: Colleagues can we put the slides together, please. Thank you.
>> ALICE MUNYUA: We believe in an Internet puts people first and that's why the project is important for us where individuals can shape their own experience, are empowered, safe, and independent. So we build products that put people back in control of their connected lives while advocating for policies that improve the health of the Internet by creative, creating and promoting interoperable open standards that enable innovation.
So we can go to slide 3. Not long ago the entirety of Sub Sahara Africa was served by a single cable. We now expect the total desire and capacity to increase exponentially, in fact we are estimating by 400 times, an increase of 400 times. This investment in undersea cable that has transformed the potential for broadband on the continent, the two African cables that are due to land next year and they represent more capacity than all of the existing cables put together.
So the arrival of so much capacity.
>> MODERATOR: Apologies, I will ask for your indulgence, Minister Molla and Ambassador have to go to the high level session that is starting right now. So we will excuse them.
>> ALICE MUNYUA: Thank you. So this arrival, so much capacity has packed a tidal wave of investment in terrestrial infrastructure as well, and there are now over a million kilometers of fiberoptic cable in the continent.
So this project, the open tied allege project is to N. the Internet access and starts with bitter knowledge of where the physical infrastructure starting with fiberoptic infrastructure because we cannot have access to Internet without that infrastructure that underpins it.
So there has been crowd sourced effort to have fiber done by our colleagues and obviously by the ITU and other partners such as now this one that's on the screen right now but it does fall sort of what is immediated due to the challenges in sourcing operator data. However even this modest effort because it was shared as open data unlocked the potential for two researchers, Jonas, they are both called Jonas to combine fiberoptic data with research on employment levels in the African continent.
They are able to establish significant correlation between proximity to fiber optic cables and the increase in employment levels. So this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to insights that may be gained by researchers in combined fiberoptic network data with other kinds of socioeconomic data to produce new insights so we can invest, so we desperately need to better understand the impact of our investment in ICT infrastructure.
So many fiber optic networks operators around the world share their maps. We keep hearing it's supposed to be a business secret, so it is not normalized practice of information sharing, but we have examples in South Africa, Nigeria, Ukraine, and as William Gibson said, the future is here it is just unevenly distributed.
So many network operators around the world share network maps although they are still in minority and which is not really normalized, there is no normalized practice of network information sharing.
The ITU has been really good in maintaining a global map of fiberoptic infrastructure through its partnership with regulators and equipment commission around the world, but in the absence of open data norms for networking commission sharing, operators are open to sharing NDAs and as a result the network map is restricted from being downloaded and presenting a barrier to researchers who might leverage this resource, especially now because we are talking about research in this continent that will inform meaningful access.
So we need more transparency to understand how physical Internet infrastructure, where it is, where it can be found, what the access gaps are. So address this charge, we need more transparency, so we came together, the World Bank, the ITU, Mozilla, the Internet Society and others and the first challenge we had, we have taken is on the first map where the terrestrial fiberoptic infrastructure can be found.
So what are the benefits for this open telecom infrastructure data? What is the benefits of this standard? I will start with regulators and Government. So for Government and regulators, they can benefit in many ways from this open fiberoptic data.
So the map right here shows the area around , for example, in Ghana showing the area around in height and valleys so the benefit is more effective network investment by accurately targeting the under served, that's one. Improving coordination across infrastructure sector , for example, road, electricity, oil and gas, reducing physical network interaction and destruction.
We had a workshop in Kenya where the technology providers of Kenya, each was complaining about the infrastructure being destroyed by a road, and so just having that knowledge open for everybody to have that access is extremely important. And then the opportunity for national and regional benchmarking, you know, is another advantage for regulators and Governments as well as understanding the true extent of the national fiberoptic infrastructure.
We still don't know that yet. So if eight operators report fine along a route, one route, does that represent eight unique networks or is it one? So those are the questions that this open telecom data is going to be asking, exactly what do we really have?
So what is the benefit for operators. That's the benefit for the Government and regulatory authorities. So for operators,.
>> SAMEER SHARMA: Thank you, maybe just what I introduced in the begin about the transition maps that ITU has created, this is how it looks like. It very comprehensive maps having seven different indicators which maintains the global fiberoptic network infrastructure through partnership with mostly the regulators and the operators and I recall in our Asia‑Pacific Regional Office, I used to work with all of the operators sending all of those letters, collecting those data, it's a painful process, but when it comes there mapped in this form and shaped, you find that you can fill the gap and make some kind of investment. As Alice mentioned, the problem is that because these are not in the public domain, very limited data is there in the public domain, so ITU and the World Bank thought let's do something and let's try to resolve at least starting with Africa, if you can go to the next slide, please, so have a multistakeholder partnership as I heard the Ambassador from Australia focusing on the multistakeholder partnership and civil society including with industry. You can see here the partners that we have. So here on behalf of the world bank and the ITU and the UN system along with industry, with Alice, we are very happy that this initiative has taken forward.
It has been launched, and also there are some pilots which have also been launched. Our colleague Steve Song, if you can show your hand. And also in the Connect2Recover in particular because we are focusing on Africa, it is a great opportunity to provide the assessment mapping. And this mapping will not only just talk about infrastructure. Where are the banks? Where are the schools in where are the hospitals? So those will be the next stages we will talk about. And Alice talked about the benefits of the operators and regulators, so I hand it back to you to take it for a little bit.
>> ALICE MUNYUA: So what are the benefits for operators. I think they would like to know what is the benefit of being part of this open fiberoptic standards. Why should Safaricom share indicate in an open platform? So this is the reason why.
We need a clear and comprehensive picture of national regional network infrastructure that can benefit operators. It will give more confidence to investors. It will give fewer excuses to any entity that disrupts fiber that might otherwise plead ignorance.
I am sure, I mean, in Kenya we had several operators complaining about fiberoptic cables being cut down by other network operators, and it will build trust among operators by giving parties confidence that they are sharing the same information at the same level of detail, and it will unlock potential to research the impact of investment in fiber.
And finally, it will also better insights into network redundancy design, and as well as reducing physical interruption and better evidence of socioeconomic impact as Sameer has mentioned over networks. Okay, so if there is figurer, the hypothesis, we have fiber, are we going to have a community with such economic, socioeconomic activity that might uplift and empower that community.
And I think especially for operators, Governments, regulators, that really is important information and not just for those stakeholders, including civil society because that's the other stakeholder, I think, we keep missing here. Next slide, please. So together these are the initial partners. Mozilla has been leading this work with Steve Song leading with the mapping and doing all of the technical work here.
So we have made a pledge to the Partner 2 Connect initiative and our pledge once again Mozilla believes ‑‑
>> SAMEER SHARMA: If I may introduce on the Partner 2 Connect, this is the initiative I recently launched and we held our plenipotentiary Conference. You would be pleased to know that when there is a gap, around 7.2 billion are still to be connected and 34% in the situation in Africa, one of the single things we want is everybody should work together and then the resources, especially the financial resources are needed.
In order to make this happen, Partner 2 Connect is an initiative where we foster pledges around $26 billion of pledges and I think it is going on still further for access, adoption, value creation and incentivizing investment. So we thought it would be important to have a pledge from ITU World Bank and the industry and open data centers, and these are, basically as you can see quickly from these pledges, we have committed to promote the collaboration of the development of the open data standards, and also by developing open data standards for describing terrestrial fiberoptic networks for sustainable mechanisms to promote public input and also promoting a culture of openness and trust so that we have the confidence that the data is being used for public good.
And you will see that many Governments are starting to actually publish those data. We saw in many European countries and also in Asia‑Pacific and Africa also.
>> ALICE MUNYUA: So what exactly is open standard? I think Mozilla is known for open source, so open standard, open source, I would like to claim it's ours, but open standard is separate from open source. But specifically open standard is, you know, the open fiber data standard that does the following. It describes data to publish about the fiberoptic networks, it provides a vocabulary and structure for fiber network data, and it offers guidance and tooling for publishers and users, but also for researchers who are talking about launching the research. I think it's important for research to have access to this information in terms of where the access gaps are.
So there is already a bit beta version of the standard that is publicly available and we would be more than happy to work with any stakeholder, ITU, Mozilla, we are happy to work with any stakeholders to support the development in any country that might be interested or any operator.
And the documentation and digital tools are also available , for example, earlier this month we noticed that the Brazilian Government released network fiberoptic infrastructure data using this standard, and Mozilla is currently supporting pilots in Ghana and Kenya and will be more than happy to support pilots in any other countries, so we are more than happy to speak to any other member states or an operator that might be interested.
So the action has already began, as I mentioned what is going on in Ghana, Brazil, Kenya, and please feel free to reach out to us, my colleague Steve Song, Sameer, from the ITU and the World Bank, if anyone would like to request information or know more about this open data standard. Thank you very much. Back to you,.
>> SAMEER SHARMA: Thank you very much.
>> MODERATOR: I was just engrossed in my thinking about all of the stuff that Alice is saying.
This is absolutely fabulous and I'm just happy to see this going. I truly encourage anybody who would like to be part of this to come on board and to also go look at Sameer said to the Partner2Connect website. It is a place where you can see how people are committing to doing something. Part of the Partner2Connect initiative momentum is also coming together to do things. You heard since this morning that this region is variably connected, but it is very, we have very low connectivity.
If we are going to advance that, we are going to have to work as the African proverb goes, together, to go far. So it is important. We have been talking about connecting the world, connecting Africa for the past 30 years. We are still at 33%.
So we truly have a long way to go. So thanks for being here again all, and now I would like to introduce some of our speakers who will share about the Connect2Recover research completion, but at the same time before we do that is Professor Ahmad Reza Sharafat online.
>> AHMAD REZA SHARAFAT: Yes.
>> MODERATOR: Glad to hear you. And he has been one of our gurus for the 15 research. So you have the floor please, thank you.
>> AHMAD REZA SHARAFAT: Thank you very much, and I would like to begin by addressing Madame Regional Director Ms. Anne‑Rachel Inne, Excellencies, distinguished colleagues, ladies and gentlemen, good morning, good afternoon, and good evening.
It is my honour to welcome you today as the Chair of the Connect2Recover research carpet us. I would like to begin by offering my heartfelt congratulations to the 15 research teams on the launch of their research reports.
Many my capacity as the Chair of the jury, I have the privilege and insight to review the outstanding research proposals that were submitted. The final 15 were selected based on stringent criteria and I'm very proud to be here in this session to introduce the research teams which represent 43 universities and institutions from 22 countries, a very diverse geographical as well as topical representation, setting foundations for comprehensive and authority at this timive research work.
Ladies and gentlemen, being actively involved in the works of Study Groups in the Telecommunication Development Sector including as the past Chair of Study Group 2, I see the huge potential in these research reports, especially actionable recommendations that could be implemented in countries of research.
I'm confident that these reports may contribute towards closing the digital divide, particularly in key areas of healthcare, education and job creation as well as recommending digitally inclusive policies for vulnerable groups. Digital connectivity and resilience are critical in providing technology solutions and ensuring digital inclusion for all.
The case studies, interviews as well as data collection from 17 different countries from Africa, the Americas, the Arab States and Asia‑Pacific will be greatly beneficial to policy makers as well as regulators. I'm very privileged to be here at this event, that will allow dissemination of knowledge and exchange of ideas to benefit all who attend. I encourage everyone to participate and engage with the researchers actively and most importantly to explore ways to implement the recommendations to meet the needs of the people in your countries.
With that, Madame Regional Director, let me hand over to Sameer to provide further details on the Connect2Recover research competition.
>> MODERATOR: Thank you very much, Dr. Ahmad Reza Sharafat.
>> SAMEER SHARMA: Thank you very much, Anne‑Rachel Inne, and thank you for your gracious presence. We acknowledge the guidance that you have provided in evaluation of over 300 proposals that were received which culminated into 15 research winners today that we have. In fact, I cannot start without thanking our partner, Huawei who has been our sector member and partner to this journey of connect to recover.
We had an idea about how we can encourage participation of academia think tank and the work of ITU which can be of benefit to the people on the ground. So in this short presentation before we actually go into five sessions which will be very interactive sessions which is the heart of today's presentation, the sessions by the winners of this research competition on health, job creation, education, digital infrastructure and vulnerable group, and we will have a concluding session at the end.
So my role here will be brief to introduce the Connect2Recover initiative from the inception to the journey of launch you saw today this morning. Can we put together the slides, please. Next slide. So very briefly, if I can show you the Connect2Recover research competition basically falls under the ITU flagship initiative called Connect2Recover which was launched in September 2020 at the time of COVID with the objective to strengthen digital infrastructure and ecosystem for the beneficiary countries in the wake of pandemic, and include natural hazards and disaster in many regions I think this has become necessity for us to readily respond and digital infrastructure duration becomes the priority as Member States need, and in the centre you see we focus on three pillars, education, health and job creation.
These are the focus areas, and in doing so because our resources are limited, we first select our LDCs, LLDCs and small island countries, and for small island countries, I had to acknowledge the contributions especially from Australia and Asia‑Pacific region, so excellency, thank you very much.
So these are the partners, our Regional Director Anne‑Rachel mentioned in the opening reports, founding partners for Connect2Recover were MIS Japan. And later on we were privileged to have partners like Government of the Australia, Government of Lithuania and Government of Czech Republic also joined membership.
We also have members from private sector Huawei and Vodafone, I think, met results if I can see representing this group. Thank you for joining and the Broadband Commission for which you saw the smartphone accessibility report. That's also part of Connect2Recover initiative.
So very briefly, Connect2Recover in order to have an authoritative transparent methodology that we can apply across the board to all of the countries as a tool for carrying out the assessment in all of the countries as an entry point so we can find out where the gaps in infrastructure, where are the gaps in technologies, where are the gaps in policy and regulation, and how we can put together our efforts, infrastructure, as well as the removing the barriers.
So the first phase is to come up with a global methodology. A report has been published and for second phase we carry out country assessment to identify where are the gaps and bottlenecks to we know where we have to make an entry, and what is it that we need to address.
The third phase is it to stock take for ICT strategies. We heard about digital transformation. If the countries have a roadmap, we can actually further strengthen it. If they don't have, we build it, and also pilot project and I don't have a better example than in Africa. The first pilot we launched is in Rwanda where through Giga, UNICEF, ITU Connect2Recover, connectivity for communities and schools so they cannot only get access to education, but also in the evening, the communities can provide access to those services of education, health, and other services, and finally this methodology includes deep dive studies, let's say E‑health, E‑education, and the E‑government, that is part of these outcomes from this methodology.
Next slide, please. This is to show the work, what has been done so far in Connect2Recover initiative. The key concrete products and services as membership always asks ITU that you must deliver, so first in the centre if you can see, the global methodology has already been released, which is online, and also when we carry out the assessment in the countries we go to Ethiopia, we go to Rwanda, we go to Mozambique, whatever, we need to know we don't need to design the data, the references of the templates, et cetera.
So this report of harmonizing broadband data across ITU initiatives because there are a huge, to today I'm finding which information I can use as entry point for the country assessment. So this is an effort to customize templates for collecting data for the country. So this has already been done and we also have this Broadband Commission Working Group report on. On the right‑hand side you have seen the assessment undertaken in the countries in CIS region, Armenia, Kazakhstan and on the left you see the assessment carried out CARICOM which is a regional body regulator book and in the aftermath of the disaster that happened for Internet resilience, and also I just talked about, these are just some of the products we have covered in the connect to recover. Next slide, please.
So starting with the research competition and I was having discussion with our colleagues from Huawei yesterday evening and this morning for the breakfast that this journey started in July 2021 for thinking as to how best we can leverage this platform where the industry, academia and think tank can build back better with the broadband and also with the global research communities would be encouraged promoting knowledge sharing.
And we looked into the submission requirements that the requirements that did submit should be focused on resiliency for digital infrastructure and also how to Build Back Better broadband along with digital inclusion, especially in the time of COVID, and to developing key recommendations that could be held at the country level. And you would be very happy to see that there are 15 winners that we proposed at that time with 42,000U.S., and if I have been working in ITU for 15 years, but I have not seen any such intense competition with 15 winners. Pardon me if my information is wrong, but I think this is a very proud initiative, and I want to thank everybody for that. Next slide, please.
Just a quick journey, so we started in July 2021 with the details very comprehensive criteria and then the closure of the competition we gave around 1.5 months and in November we carried out the assessment by the jury representative so that ITU was Secretariat. We were not involved in decision making, and then we conducted information sessions in Africa to talk about it.
And finalization of the report which happened just now, and we are launchinged to all of these 15 reports along with this ITU publication. So to give you how division and extensive this was when this call for proposals were launched we received 307 proposals across the globe as you can see the map from 72 countries and 51 countries which are collaborating partners from all of the regions of ITU as you can see and there were 148 eligible proposals that were short listed and finally there were 15 winning proposals.
I want to introduce briefly as Rachel mentioned Dr. Ahmad Reza Sharafat who you just heard him from Islamic Republic of Iran, he was Chairman of Study Group 2 has been guiding us throughout. He was the Chair, and we have Professor from school of economics and I'm sure many colleagues would know others. They were the jury members who looked into the seven criterias of collaboration, relevance, impact, viability, sustainability and a lot of contributions were already available and the implementation plan.
We don't want simply paperwork and reports. We want it to be actionable, implementable so it can be used by the countries for their benefit. So we thought because out of 15 such proposals, 12 proposals were focused on Africa, and in that particularly we thought it would be a good idea while they were gathering a lot of information, a lot of data, they wanted to get interface with our colleagues in Africa, the country, regulators, focal points, et cetera, and they also needed to have both relationships.
So we organized the session and Anne‑Rachel led those information sessions in April and March, and those sessions were very productive with the objective of sharing what is going on in the report and the researchers can interact and work with them later when they are delivering those products in terms of implementation.
And this is just a quick journey of how we captured those, the work, ongoing work, which is the research competition‑winning project, those are the booklets and we came up with the code cards so some of those were basic and simple and see what is it in this report. So these are all available online, and we launched a website of ITU Connect2Recover research competition and, of course, you saw the video which is actually captured in those research impact stories that is making a difference in the lives of people.
This is just to capture the impact of the research which is made in all different regions, very briefly, I spare you the pain by putting these four small bubbles. One is the biggest one which is showing where those studies are targeted. So the green bubble in the centre is the maximum research, they are focused in Africa. In the left in purple you see they are coming from Arab States and blue is from Asia‑Pacific, and then Americas we also have a proposal, and then I think they have submitted their report as well. So it's a very diverse, extensive published globally.
And just wanted to share what are the key lessons, what are the key things or what are the key enablers if I can summarize although it is hard, but to summarize as on the left‑hand side you see basically the pillars that we used for researchers to consider is digital inclusion as it has been highlighted repeatedly that we want to focus on inclusion of persons with disabilities, youth, women, children, and even indigenous communities in many countries including Australia, Indonesia and many countries. So there is the first pillar, the second is digital inclusion for job creation, how we can create opportunities for engagement so they can create jobs and also for vulnerable persons for digital inclusion, and digital inclusion for health.
On the right‑hand side you will see these are four key lessons if I can quickly summarize, first, there is a need for digital resilient infrastructure and meaningful connectivity that digital solutions required reliable network where services are affordable and accessible to all.
The second conclusion is in terms of need for innovations and technology, we must promote all of the new solutions and technologies because ideas can come from anywhere so we wanted to capture those ideas and map them where the priority and the needs are there, and the third one is because there are a lot of archaic policies and regulations, and our role is to make sure since we work closely with the policy makers and regulators rather than coming on more and more regulations, first we look at where are the barriers? Can we remove archaic solutions? I remember there was still telegraph of 1885, please, give us a break, I can talk about my country.
So you must actually have to, it might be relevant now, but I think we try to make it more vibrant and they have done it now. So that's the third lesson. Finally enhancement of the institutions and the human capacity. There is a lot of need to develop human capacity, peer to peer learning and sessions so that people can learn and implement rather than consult ants come, give reports and we don't know how to use it.
So these are four lessons. And next slide if you can see the report that has been launched today, thank you Anne‑Rachel, Ambassadors and Ministers. These reports are available. And the first report on the left‑hand side, this is an ITU publication.
Believe me, the colleagues and teams have gone through, but it was worth because the report that you see on the right‑hand side, all of these reports are launched, are available on the website. We didn't print it for the environment, we saved the environment, but this one report will provide for busy executives, Ministers and Ambassadors what is the key one or two things that I can pick up from the report?
So this is a summary of all 15 research findings, very precious. So now it is available in public domain, and if you go to the next slide, I'm going to wrap up by saying that now we will be having five sessions.
There are 15 research proposals. They are organized into let's say one health, one of our colleagues will be moderating, you will hear the research findings followed by session two on education. Again, a moderated interactive session, the next would be on job creation followed by digital inclusion for vulnerable solutions and the fifth session, next slide, will be for digital connectivity.
And what we do in order to wrap up, we invite one representative from each vertical, and then we open up for questions and what are the real problems, how they are going to convert research into practical applications, how it can be implemented and so Anne‑Rachel would be concluding this thing, but I'm happy do share if I may, allow me to say that, Anne‑Rachel was telling that we are not interested in only report out basis but we must implement for the people which they can use.
One of the reports here, I think report number 4 if somebody can show their hand who are the authors of the report number four, yes, thank you very much. So in Kenya, that report is taking into the shape of implementation and pilots. So we are working with our partners so this is to demonstrate that these reports are not just the report lying in the shelves, but actionable implementable report for the benefit of people and the last slide just wanted to give you all of the resources that we have for the Connect2Recover so that you can use them, don't need to reinvent the wheel and save the planet with that.
Thank you very much, and back to you, Anne‑Rachel. Thank you.
>> MODERATOR: All right. So thank you very much, Sameer, for a great presentation and our next session is actually supposed to start at 12:00. Given that we haven't moved since 10:00 a.m. from here, I was wondering if you would all like to go on a short break, grab a coffee maybe and come back. I think 20 minutes is more than enough.
So, yes. Wonderful. So see you in 20 minutes here. Thank you very much.
>> ANNE-RACHEL INNE: Welcome, and thanks for being with us today. I am going to hand over to my colleague, Caroline Gaju, to moderate the next session that you are going to have and this is all going to be about digital inclusion in health. The floor is yours.
>> CAROLINE GAJU: Thank you very much Anne‑Rachel, my name is Caroline Gaju, and in this segment I will introduce you to the work of four of our research competition teams. The four research papers focused on how effective deployment and use of digital technologies can help address some of the health challenges faced by underserved communities and vulnerable persons in our communities. The recent experiences from COVID‑19 have shown the need to strengthen the digital health ecosystem and leverage digital technologies to deliver more effective and reliable health services.
The integration and scale up of digital technologies in the health sector presents an opportunity to improve the quality, accessibility, and affordability of health services for all populations including those in remote areas to increase the resilience of the health systems and advanced digital inclusion.
During the session, we will discuss the challenges in providing health services and proposed solutions to ensure digital inclusion in health, and in particular for those in rural and remote areas. Our first presenter will be Ki‑Hong Park who is a research scientist, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, network in a box to provide health services in remote areas. Dr. Park, you are most welcome.
Our second presenter is Dr. Lasisi Salami Lawai who is senior Research Fellow from the federal University of Technology in Minna, Nigeria. Panacea medical tourism in Africa exploiting communications set light technologies. Dr. Lasisi Salami Lawai you are most welcome.
Our third presenter will be Dr. Benet Henry who is a consultant and physician at A‑MEDIC from the Commonwealth of Dominica. Dr. Henry you are most welcome.
Our fourth presenter will be Dr. David Botchie, senior lecturer at Brunet university from the United Kingdom and whose research paper will focus on digital health through telemedicine ecosystem against pandemics, epidemics and natural disasters in Sub‑Saharan Africa. Dr. David, you are most welcome.
Each presenter has ten minutes to present their research work, and after all of the presenters have made their presentations, a Q and A session will follow and for our online participants, you can also type your questions in the chat. With that, let us start the first presentation with Dr. Park. Dr. Park, over to you,.
>> KI-HONG PARK: Thank you for introducing me and hello, research, my name is Ki‑Hong Park, working in King Abdullah University of Science and Technology. I'm honored to present my work before the ITU Connect2Recover competition in this forum and today I'm going to talk about the digital inclusion for health services in the remote area on the network to provide health services in remote areas.
So the outline of my talk is following the first I will introduce my research and the motivation and objectives will be introduced and recent methodology to formulate and solve our research problem will be followed by the research finding and the interpretation.
Finally, some representation will be addressed and I will conclude the talk. Our research includes two Professors and me in two different universities in Kingdom of ad and U.K. and principle investigator mOHAMED Slim Alouini, and he is particularly interested in the addressing the technical challenges associated with uneven distribution and use of communication technology in rural areas and hard to reach areas.
And Yunfei this Chen is a leader in school of engineering in the University of Warwick in the U.K. He is paying attention to the colleging of the issue of the network in a box solution to sort the technical challenges against the digital divide.
So connectivity is the key enabler for the digital evolution in remote healthcare, distance learning and the smart culture in the remote and rural areas and the network solution should serve the broadband service for the multimedia and Internet of Things data service for disseminating the health information in telemedicine, but, however in the many of the rural and remote areas, many people are suffering from the insufficient network connectivity because of the low average revenue due to low income, low population and large coverage area.
So the cost‑effective networking solution is required to cover the remote areas, so the network solution should be light weight and portable to move according to the varying network topology, and it is fast and easy to deploy for supporting the pop up network on demand.
Moreover, the network solution should be flexible to adapt the network and the supportive network such as WiFi, cellular and IoT network interoperable with existing network infrastructures as a partial network function. So NIB standing for network in a box is potential cost‑effective networking solution which is a single affordable device consisting of software, firmware and hardware modules in one device supporting network functions for service provisioning and back hauling in the network. So NIB can serve multiple access networks such as WiFi, IoT, and server network, and can be easily transported by the backpack and drone, and beacon, which means this solution can be portable and easy to change the deployment according to the network demand.
In this project, we optimize the deployment, multiNIB network for broadband and health IoT service in remote areas. So in order to deploy the multiple NIB, we first know the network users are distributed in the coverage area so the users in the remote areas is sparsely populated so we consider deterministic user distribution rather than the modeling so we consider the clustered network model where the users are located at one of the clusters such as a small village, and user distribution at each cluster follows the distribution.
We consider two data service for broadband gate and IoT, health IoT data, and characteristics of two data are different and, therefore, two different data models will be applied. The first, the broadband service is rate‑oriented without any consideration for maximum data range can be achieved by Shannon capacity.
On the other hand, the length of the health IoT data is very short and maximum data rate can't be achieved, so as shown in the blue in this figure, the achievable data rate of the health IoT data is depending on the block length of the IoT data.
So with this user distribution model and rate model we maximize the total network throughput for both broadband service and health IoT service and to maintain the quality of the health IoT data we limit the delay and set the data rate requirement from the health IoT data for network bandwidth.
By serving this optimization, we can determine the location of the NIB to be deployed and association between the NIB and the user in quoting rate for IoT data. So we developed iterative Algeria to provide the locally optimal solution to the optimization problem and here is the example simulation result for five user clusters and four NIB under this simulation parameters in these tabled, and the figure on the top left, the iterative Algeria is shown with the locally optimal values. On the top right figure we show the NIB deployment and association for cluster user distribution and the multiple NIBs are deployed to support the different user clusters respectively and usually the NIB are deployed close to the broadband user cluster to maximize the total network throughput while maintaining the data rate requirement for the IoT data.
So as shown in the figure at the bottom, the minimum data rate for the health IoT data is satisfied for all user clusters. There are some recommendations considering in our research and it can be further improved by the back hauling methods to connect to the external infrastructure and and due to the limited Bach haul capacity in reremote areas, the satellite Bach hauling can be used as the example, and secondly, the localized data is likely to be processed at the local data centre so mobile and the testing can be implemented together to alleviate the network traffic load in remote areas.
Third, the health IoT data is periodically collected from the IoT sensors and to many the IoT up date in the network, the list of the network traffic congestion, reducing this update cost outdated value of the health information. So in order to evaluate the timeliness of this health information, information can be evaluated for ‑‑ age of information can be evaluated for health information.
Furthermore, regarding the network, the reconfiguration, the coverage mapping, according to the varying network topology over time with the changing user distribution and clustering, we can reconfigure the network with transport means thanks to the mobility and the portability of the NIB solution.
In conclusion, in this project, we invested feasibility of NIB based network optimization to support smart health IoT services in rural areas. We considered mathematical modeling of the user distribution and data model, formulated network deployment problem and found the proposed iterative solution.
As future work, we can consider the study on coexistence with conventional cellular network, and multipurpose sensing radar and localization applications.
>> MODERATOR: Thank you very much Dr. Park for that presentation and indeed there will be an opportunity to learn more about the network in a box to provide health services in remote areas.
We will now move to our Secretariat presenter who will be Dr. Lasisi Salami Lawai. Over to you, please.
>> LASISI SALAMI LAWAL: Thank you very much. I really appreciate the Connect2Recover initiative for this very wonderful forum for me to help find ways of adaptation and adoption of United Nations SDG in Africa which is eight years away from now, so how to fast track meeting those goals.
And of interest to us is, of course, health. The United Nations SDG3 is health for all for all ages. Specifically for this research, is finding a nexus between medicine, practice, medical practitioner, and communications, and how to find nexus, how to bring about telemedicine as digital health and the health sector, and we feel that could help fast track with telemedicine, it could also help find solution to medical tourism which is very prevalent in Africa exploiting communication technologies.
When you look at the issue of unconnected people in the world, a large chunk of that number resides in Africa. The research team cuts across industry and academia. In fact, I'm in industry and at the same time academia trying to find nexus in terms of what is learned in the classroom and what goes out in the industry.
We have a diverse group of people from academia from the industry. I'm, of course, from public sector to who are actually in the policy making sector which is quite key to what we are doing in trying to help develop not just regulations and standards, but, of course, framework for adoption and adaptation of telemedicine, in particular, in hospitals.
They produce young doctors, some when you talk about telemedicine, it's a new term. So finding a way to have this framework in their study curriculum is also key which is part of a recommendation. Quickly, because we truly don't have time, Nigeria in particular, healthcare sector struggles with insufficient infrastructure. As a result of this affluent Nigerians choose to receive medical treatment in more Developed Countries.
Medical problems cause Nigerian economy in $1.3 billion annually. Health service delivery is poor to Nigerians who cannot afford be to treated abroad so this research aims to robust network design to explore the application of communication to deliver broadband for telemedicine services in designated rural communities and internally displaced persons camps which represent vulnerable people as well.
So also evaluate the acceptability, utility, and adoption of very small aperture terminal, customer premise equipment for delivery of satellite services for Internet, for telemedicine delivering peer‑to‑peer mobile application which is currently available. Make recommendations as appropriate to relevant authorities and stakeholders on research based telemedicine findings to drive digital health inclusion in Nigeria and Africa as a whole.
Now, research draws on mixed methodology. Qualitatively comprising of case studies, surveys covering interviews and national research ‑‑ action research in deploying real pilot case study to help determine how adaptable is the mobile health application that we call One 2 One app for patients and doctors in terms of applicability of satellite technology for telemedicine services.
So a total of over the six month period, a total of 766 patients received medical attention using the satellite for digital relate medical outreach program. 81.8% of patients and medical personnel who participated in our survey strongly decreed that the one to one mobile complication provided acceptable way for health services the one to one M health application software has been made available free.
Communication slight network can deliver services in areas with little or no terrestrial mobile networks to fast track UN SDG goal 3 on health by robust networks require taking into account equipment sizing from the gateway as represented by teleport of the satellite communication service provider and CPE at the end of the user which, of course, you have project analysis to help determine the aperture that could actually take a dedicated bandwidth required from topology in delivery communication satellite end‑to‑end, and then, of course, major challenges faced during the adoption of telemedicine and language barriers and low literacy levels especially in underserved communities.
And then, of course, based on what we did in IDP camps we evaluated poor health conditions and a major cause of prevailing health conditions at the camps. Accessibility to the accounts is poorly regulated and causes critical problems to the inhabitants of the camp.
Part of our research finding was actually production of four papers and Conference proceedings and journals. We have one prepared digital health inclusion, a pilot study of health services deployment using communication slight for the underserved in Nigeria submitted to international journal for telemedicine and productions. We have yet to receive feedback.
Overview of satellite communications and its application of telemedicine for the underserved in Nigeria presented on the 17th November 2022 virtually., in Maldives virtually. It was published in IEEE. The third is review of telemedicine and its potential in Developing Countries. It's been submitted and produced on the 9th. It's been written in IET templates and IET assignment copyright for publication in IET explore. The fourth is internally displaced IDPs in Abuja, an overview of health situation and solution submitted and has been published with international journal of health, safety and environment on the 15th of October, 2022.
Now, recommendations first from Government and policy maker sensitizing the public stakeholder how teaching hospitals, African Regional Office of World Health Organization benefits of adopting digital health especially in university teaching hospitals and other related World Health Organizations to increase acceptance rate and adoption in the country and continent alike.
Framework and policies at local, state, national and regional level are required to drive implementation. On the side of what we also discovered, the federal Government of Nigeria needs to invest heavily in four key branches of medicine that accounts for 60% of medical tourism. This is oncology, orthopedics, nephrology and cardiology.
Satellite‑based solutions can be utilized also by the emergency management agency and other emergency and disaster management agencies to deliver healthcare services to Nigerian citizens during disaster and emergency situations.
In Nigeria recently we had flood situation eroding all of the terrestrial mobile infrastructure you have, particularly in Abuja. There was a meeting and was other cities. In such situation you can utilize mobile DSAT system to deliver not just telemedicine services, communication services for people to find their loved ones to even know where they are beyond just offering, food, mattresses in the last two years. These are recommendations we also made to institutions so foster inclusion of IDPs in relate insurance a comprehensive database should be created for these citizens along with other palliative measures.
Yes, that on the side of Government policy makers.
Secondly, we also look at telemedicine researchers and software and hardware designers driving E‑health facilities. The video call future of the one 2 one mobile health application was essential for physical examinations in telemedicine. So this feature is highly recommended for developers of telemedicine software. Telemedicine services can only work with sufficient bandwidth to truly have true quality of experience. So this should be taken into account when designing a telemedicine network architecture. Language translation features should be incorporated to bridge the language and literacy gap in rural communities. Hardware designers should consider implementing E‑health facilities with minimal power consumption for optimal usage of facilities using green power technologies we are blessed with abundance of sunshine in Africa.
So this will help complement the inadequacies of public mains from public agencies supplying power. It's a very big issue in rural communities where you don't even find electricity. And, of course, in conclusion, telemedicine serves as a means to transcend geography, time, social and cultural barriers to healthcare delivery in line with attainment of UN SDG3. Mobile health applications with audio, video and text capabilities can be leveraged to provide telemedicine services in both urban and rural locations using VSAT based Internet. Language barriers encountered during the project were by supplying support staff who are not only fluent in English but also in the local language of the communities visited, however we incorporated language translation features for future telemedicine software is highly recommended and part of our ongoing next steps. We have made one 2 one mobile healthcare application available on Google Play Store underscoring the importance of digital mobile apps in telemedicine drive and adoption. Content creation, not just availability of Internet access. Thank you very much.
>> MODERATOR: Using infrastructure to deliver and extend health services to all. We will now move onto our third presenter Dr. Henry, the floor is yours.
>> BENET HENRY: Good afternoon, if I may be permitted to follow the protocol as established, I will continue. My project today is to demonstrate the use of telemedicine in the management of chronic diseases in small island and developing states SIDS, a case study in Dominic ca.
Throughout my discussion we will look at our research team I will introduce the project and we will go through the research methodology, the research findings an the outcomes, recommendations and conclusions.
The research team, let me say that the ITU I would say is one of our main team members. Without the ITU support and Connect2Recover support, this project would not be possible. So let me put them at the top of the list as our main team members. Myself, I am an ophthalmologist, medical practitioner as well, I work with the A‑medic clinic. Ms. Laudat was the project manager. Believe it or not, putting together a project requires support of administrative support and all hands on deck. We also had members of the Olugbenda foundation that played a significant role in the project. We have from Optipharm eye center. We had all saints university. We had students that helped put together data.
Dominica is an island in the Caribbean. We are not exempt from suffering from health issues. We have had to deal with problems of hurricanes, climate change, and the problem of COVID‑19. Many patients could not access the emergency rooms because of their high contagious nature of COVID‑19 so they had to, they suffered many complications because they were not able to access the health facilities.
So CARICOM in 2001 decided that the health of a region is the wealth of a region. So also that was supported by the World Health Organization who recognized that the problems that were being affecting these countries. So what we saw was that there was a long waiting times to see a physician.
Me being an ophthalmologist I saw many patients coming to my clinic who were going blind because of complications of diabetes. This is a preventable blindness. That is a serious problem. The cost of healthcare, believe it or not, it costs us, by the time you have another test. There were several protocols with regards to accessing the facilities. So all of these are challenges and complications we had to face.
So, of course, we looked at many countries try taxing these goods which accelerate chronic diseases, lifestyle changes, dietary changes, exercise. So we saw telemedicine as being able to afford support because there was a reduced waiting time when you use telemedicine. It was affordable. It was accessible, and the potential to document the records.
And many times the patient looks for the records and they have to wait six months to get the report, but if it is digitalized, just print it out and email and get it. So all of this telemedicine supported the SDGs.
So the objective, like I said before, was supported by the ITU and I will mention them again to demonstrate the importance of telemedicine in the management of diabetes and hypertension making healthcare more accessible and affordable in Small Island Developing States. In terms of the research methodology, the research as a randomized controlled intervention study of two diagnostic groups, is diabetics and hypertensive patients.
So we classified them into sub groups. Patients who had diabetes, patients who have hypertension, patients who have both diabetes and hypertension and a control group. So, of course, there was inclusion and exclusion criteria. These patients could not have been in an acute stage, could not have been complicated in order for us to accept them into the project.
They were educated on telemedicine, they were also educated on diabetes and hypertension. Consent was sought from them in order to conduct the studies. We also sought approvals from the medical board ethics Committee of Dominica, so then we went on to do the consultations, free consultations.
The study consists of a heterogenous mixture including indigenous groups, 25% were youth, 52% middle age and 22% of geriatric patients. And if you note females, 79% participated and only 21% were males. So, of course, the males are already running away from it.
So we did the anthropometric measurements, (b), blood sugar, connectivity and overall patient satisfaction of use of technology was analyzed.
So what we sought to do was to find out from each one of these groups whether they were satisfied with the telemedicine, and unanimously patients were satisfied with the use of telemedicine because of the advantages we spoke about, how it was affordable to them and they had waiting times that were very extended waiting time, sometimes six months.
And because of that, they were able to see a physician online, they were able to see a specialist, get a specialist consultation, so not only that, but the availability of cell phones, not everybody had a cell phone, but most persons who had digital, digital device was able to be satisfied with the service for telemedicine. And also, what we found that patients if you lived five minutes from the hospital or you lived an hour or two hours from the hospital, you had no advantage over the other because the consultation was online.
So not because it was in town that they couldn't. So that was part of the research finding. So as part of our recommendations we saw the need to decreed broadband services for connectivity of telemedicine services and incorporate satellite and GPS services. Many times with the hurricanes you have networks, you know, totally destroyed and you have to be able to support that system.
We see the problem with raising power outages, you have all of this so you need to upgrade that. Many times we tried to assist, but sometimes if you use solar and somebody takes the solar devices or these are some of the challenges.
So there must be a need to increase accessibility and availability of E‑health medical devices. What we have found was that if the patients had access to a device where we could get the data at the home. They have a blood pressure cuff or SVO2 machine at the home, that information could be uploaded on the network.
We were able to take decisions based on that. There must be a greater public‑private partnership. Many times they say that you have 10,000 persons are ill, but there is gross underreporting because the Government system has their statistics but they do not sometimes get statistics from the private sector, so there is gross under reporting for that.
There is the need to increase advocacy and education in telemedicine. In conclusion, we saw that telemedicine was effective medium in the management of chronic diseases in Small Island Developing States especially during the COVID pandemic. We also so you the digitization of health care optimized and aided response in diagnosis of the disease and monitoring.
We saw that overall patients were satisfied with the use of telemedicine in managing their disease. But, of course, with every good there is some limitations to the technology, of course. We saw that there was inadequate connectivity in certain areas. Dominica is highly mountainous, so sometimes you connect and you are waiting to reconnect and you have, so we also saw that there was a lack of medical quality devices in the homes the.
So we need to get devices to the people in the homes of the older persons. Inadequate education on telemedicine services, on chronic disease management. Sometimes there were distractions. Sometimes you are on a call with the physician and your child is passing in the back or something. So, of course, there was some privacy issues although we used HIPAA certified network, there are private issues that need to be addressed.
And, of course, there is cultural taboo, certain persons who said they would prefer being online. So we had to deal with this. So basically we are saying that we are hoping that we can get greater collaboration with other organisations partner to push this technology, and I think that there is a lot of opportunity in telemedicine. Thank you.
>> MODERATOR: Thank you very much, Dr. Henry, for again Chairing the key role that telemedicine plays in advancing digital health and really appreciate the statement that you opened with, the health of the region is the wealth of the region. We also saw the Ned for availability and access to devices, increased advocacy, increased connectivity, and some other issues regarding privacy and how best we can address those. Thank you very much, and we will now move to our fourth presenter, Dr. David. The floor is yours.
>> DAVID BOTCHIE: Thank you so much. So thanks once again. My presentation is on the topic improving resilience in Developing Countries, digital health promotion through telemedicine ecosystem against pandemics, epidemics and natural disasters in Sub‑Saharan Africa. Let me just say that the presentation will follow this outline. The research will be introduced, introduction of the research methodology, research findings and outcomes, some recommendations and conclusions will be made.
Now, the research team is multidisciplinary, it's made of Edward Asiedu, University of Ghana, a development economist, myself, sustainability from Brunel University with Weifeng Chen who is in health sector and Shang Gao who is also a computer IT aspect.
Now, I must say that the global health shocks including the COVID‑19 have become rampant in the past decades and the socioeconomic consequences of such events have been more bad in Developing Countries considering the fact that in Developing Countries there are issues relating to infrastructure, issues relating to finance constraints, et cetera.
So it really impacted on Developing Countries. And we have been arguing that telemedicine ecosystem can be leveraged to expand health services through particularly making sure that the vulnerable in society are actually given access to such type of technologies.
And we actually aim at examining the state of telemedicine ecosystem in Sub‑Saharan Africa and assess the challenges with digital health provision with relevant stakeholders during and post the COVID‑19 pandemic from vulnerable groups perspective, and then also to carry out in‑depth review of second airy data and exploratory approaches in Sub‑Saharan Africa broadly and Ghana to be specific.
Fourth, to actually undertake deep dive studies on the utilization of telemedicine and digital health to improve resilience to pandemic events, and also to make sure that it can also be used to improve issues relating to natural disasters. And then fifth, to propose some recommendations to develop a telemedicine ecosystem to enable better use of digital health provision in Sub‑Saharan Africa.
The research was done in four phases, so the first phase basically looked at selection of the location for the research, and then we moved on secondly to actually get sampling work and designed instruments and then making sure that we train operators and pretest survey instruments. With that we were able to conduct key stakeholder interviews, organize workshops and focus group interviews and then also some focus group interactions to make sure we get a firsthand understanding of exactly what it takes for the telemedicine ecosystem in Ghana.
Fourth, once we were able to collect the data, we happened to transcribe it and then also claim the data making sure that ‑‑ clean the data making sure we were able to analyze the data and make some observations for workshops and then also dissemination activities. Now, the key stakeholders this particular research are people from different backgrounds, but mainly in the healthcare sector so we are looking in the NHIA insurance authority which is the main organisation responsible for health insurance in Ghana at the state level, so we actually conducted experts in that particular institution. Also Ministry of Health experts were also considered, Ministry of Communication, and then Ghana health service, and then the private sector where the telecos are present and also healthcare NGO's are also present and they were also considered. We also identified some vulnerable communities where we have already conducted some stakeholder engagement activities there.
So those particular group of people were also considered. And then also we went further to identify the vulnerable groups in remote communities. Telemedicine can be a game changer for them, so we went down there to actually identify them. This slide is very signee. So I must ‑‑ tiny. We had two broad cat are categories when it came to research findings.
The first is the research finding which actually looked at the objectives of the research and then also we activated the second category was on the areas or the aspects of the research that we think that were pertaining to the objectives. We actually did not consider them, but we found them very useful.
So we were able to pick those aspects as well. So those were areas that we considered. Now, with the objectives we have some broad things that we considered. The first thing was on the issue of state of the telemedicine ecosystem in Ghana.
Now, with that we observed that the telemedicine ecosystem is at the nascent stage but very promising in the sense that there is interconnectivity at the district level and to the extent that it is moving even to the communities. So it is something that is worth considering. And then also we observed that there is that diffusion of telemedicine in the urban and perry urban communities. There is more room for improvement when it comes to those in rural communities.
This is mainly because of the voice notes, the video calls, that over the years software technologies have been able to develop to be able to get these things threw. And interactions with some community members in remote communities show very clearly that without telemedicine we wouldn't have known much about the COVID‑19 pandemic, so it was something that, you know, the community members actually were appreciative of.
One thing that I think was the success factor in this case is the fact that there is that penetration obviously in these urban, per Y urban communities and there is the trust, the fact that when information is being commune indicated from the health professional through a digital to a recipient in the remote community that particular individual and that vulnerable society believes that the information is positive and it is good.
This is something that came out very clearly in the work. And then also the convenience that you have in the house and you are able to get information is something that is worth considering. Now, there are challenges in the sector, and the fact that there is poor network connectivity, and I think during the introduction section, it was made mention. The fact that, you know, the poor network were as a result of telecommunication where you find out that during route constructions in rural communities there is a lot of destruction tell communication cables and it makes it very expensive for telecos so invest.
And there is low literacy with regard to ICT in rural communities and then also for the professionals. Not many of them actually understand how to administer healthcare services, and so some of these things also came out because you see people who actually have perspectives with regard to ICT know how to communicate with IT but when it comes to communicating from a health perspective, it became very difficult to do.
I must say that the other aspect that we identified is the need to upskill telemedicine in rural communities because once it is done, issues relating to OPD consultations, emergency issues, et cetera, all of these issues will actually be addressed effectively.
There are tropical diseases that with telemedicine perhaps better sensitization and education can actually be given to make sure that these things are done. Now, in conclusion, we say that telemedicine is an efficient tool for the delivery of healthcare especially in marginalized communities, and this should be integrated into the healthcare system of Ghana and also to supplement the quality of service delivery in the country. We actually encourage collaboration between healthcare policy makers and academia to actually develop a telemedicine policy that perhaps may be useful and serve as a guide for administering telemedicine.
The upskill aspect is key. ICT clinics can be a measure to be used in upskilling, and then also sensitization on the need to mainstream telemedicine into healthcare delivery system. The Government must also consult and then design and implement appropriate training modules on telemedicine to build capacity amongst healthcare professionals.
The next step we think that data Conference models and their importance in telemedicine can not be over emphasized. It is very important to look at that, and this coupled with ethical implications of telemedicine in Africa. The need to investigate and develop strategies, skills and capacity required to actually upskill telemedicine in Africa is also very pertinent in this regard so efficient intelligence, big data, for instance, we leverage to predict healthcare issues and then also encourage resource allocation in the healthcare sector.
There are good practices elsewhere, for instance, United Kingdom, Sweden, that perhaps Africans can learn from. So the need to actually investigate some of these good practices and see how they can be appropriated in Africa. Thank you.
>> MODERATOR: Thank you very much, Dr. David. Indeed you highlighted key areas. I would like to start with the sharing of good practices, the sharing of success factors, what has worked, what hasn't worked, what we can learn from these experiences from the different countries and the different context.
We also highlight the need to use the different types of digital technology like AI in terms of scaling up, in terms of facilitating this kind of telemedicine approach that we are trying to emphasize and to facile extending and delivering resilient health systems for everyone and all populations.
We are running out of time, but we would like to open the floor in case there are questions, there is time for two questions. In case our participants who are online if there are questions, feel free to put them in the chat. In case there is a question in the room, the floor is open, please go ahead.
(No English translation).
>> MODERATOR: Thank you very much, delegate from Ivory Coast, and we really appreciate your participation and being here with us today. I would like to call upon one of our presenters to take some of the questions that you have presented. Dr. Lawal, would you like to go first, please.
>> LASISI SALAMI LAWAL: Thank you very much for those questions, but let me say this, to be honest with you, I was challenged with ten minutes to actually present all of the work we have done. We are comprised of 13 like I said earlier contributions from United Kingdom, from U.S.A. Yale School of Medicine, from the University of Brighten, and from Nigeria and then, of course, from the industry, and we produced a lot of copies.
In the four papers we have published already. Let me say something that really aligns as part of our core in this research project. You need broadband penetration to start with. And also education. Now, we realize when you have broadband penetration to rural areas, we are addressing United Nations SDG4 talks about quality education. Quality education through education, helps any education helps address issues of illiteracy. Part of the challenge we encounter in the field is illiteracy.
I'll litcy to understand how to prevent preventable disease, illiteracy to the fact of what it takes to even cover yourself with mask and all of that. We saw all of these challenges, but for us we published with the approval of ITU to stay in all of this will capture and one more important thing that we also saw aside the issue of illiteracy was also illiteracy education of the public is issue of power. In open areas you have rural areas that do not have any form of civilization other than having to move there with mobile car or truck.
With our visa system in the first case kilometer there is a terminal where we had to deploy a solution to the battery system. So from battery you have inverter, 24‑volt, that principle SD, then on the internal hardware equipment in the BUCs and all of that it is converting AC to DC again. For us this was needless. As part of our feedback and that it wrote concurrently the UA terminal in the UA terminal, the A direct BU system was imbued with this. So you don't need inverter anymore. Inverter goes for over $8,000.
So from the DC of your mobile car you can power your telemedicine equipment. So that was why we recommended the issue of hardware designers to put into consideration issue of utilization of green power because these rural areas we are trying to address with E‑health facility, or satellite for digital health do not have power solutions so let's find a cost effective way of making power available.
This is very key for us that, look, I internally as a researcher you convert what you buy from AC to DC to avoid the use of inverter or we make recommendations again to suppliers of E‑health telemedicine facilities as captured in our outcome that we should produce equipment that are power friendly, particularly for rural areas not in the urban area where you have inadequacy as represented. Power is still a very big issue, which is also part of the SDG and all of that. Thank you very much. A lot of our recommendations, a lot that we can talk about in ten minutes is too small for us to showcase all that we do, but part of those outcomes have been shared in four journal publications and Conference presentations. Thank you so much.
>> MODERATOR: Thank you very much Dr. Lawal. We shall be closing our session shortly because we are running out of time, but most importantly we would like to remind all of us that our presenters are still with us in the room. So if you have more questions, if there is need for more clarification, please reach out at any time and this information will be shared with everyone.
I would like to thank you very much for your attention, and I will now close the session and take a lunch break and we will be back in an hour time. Thank you very much for your attention.