Algeria has stated that it has implemented a nationwide initiative aimed at connecting 4,000 healthcare facilities within its territory through the Algerian Communications satellite Alcomsat-1. The satellite, which was launched in December 2017, is Algeria’s first communications satellite.
This was made known by the UN Secretariat during the 57th session of the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee (STSC) of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS), on the basis of information received from Algeria in response to a set of questions regarding policies, experiences and practices in the use of space science and technology for global health.
The Working Group on Space and Global Health of the Subcommittee, following an agreement reached at the 56th session of the STSC which held in February 2019, had earlier circulated a questionnaire to state members of the committee, international intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations with an invitation to provide responses to a set of questions regarding policies, experiences and practices in the use of space science and technology for global health by 16 October 2019 in accordance with the Working Groups multi-year work-plan.
According to the information supplied by Algerian authorities, the project is scheduled to enter its operational phase early this year and will ensure quality public services for all, under optimal conditions, throughout the country, including in remote and sparsely populated areas.
“Such a platform should not be used commercially given the humanitarian role it would play by ensuring collaboration between the various actors involved in global health issues. It should enable permanent, unrestricted and timely access by all actors to use data as a means of meeting the identified global health needs by using space technology and applications.” the document reads in part.
In order to ensure the effective use of space technology in various sectors, including public health, Algeria has fostered a collaborative approach between the Algerian Space Agency and the other government agencies and ministries within the country.
Algerian authorities note that the approach to leverage space in solving fundamental challenges within the country has led to the establishment of a new national space programme (2020 – 2040 Horizon), which has been reviewed and adopted by the respective national authorities, with the principal aim of addressing various national needs through the identification of space systems, establishment of specialized training programmes for young Algerian engineers and specialists, and alignment of space-related research programmes with national needs.
The projects under development with the health sector are as follows:
(a) establishment of a national health information system;
(b) development of a geographical database for malaria and re-emerging diseases (cutaneous leishmaniasis).
These projects will ensure interconnectivity between the various national hospitals and, as a result, fast and effective decision-making in remote areas with insufficient health-care staff and resources.
According to ASAL, Algeria is committed to leveraging space technology and its applications in the health sector, including the various applications offered by the Algerian communications satellite Alcomsat-1, in particular in the areas of distance learning and telemedicine.