Leveraging technology for better health

Female doctor wearing hijab examining patient

The truism health is wealth has remained true throughout human history; it is only healthy people who can innovate and make great strides.

Due to this age-long truth, the United Nations Economic and Social Council established the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 1948, with the primary role of directing and coordinating global health.

According to the 2018 World Health Statistics released by the WHO, less than half of the people in the world today get all of the health services they need. In 2010, almost 100 million people were pushed into extreme poverty because they had to pay for health services out of their own pockets. In 2016, 15,000 children died daily before reaching their fifth birthday– and a large percentage of these figures are in the Middle East and Africa (MEA).

At Microsoft, we understand that our mission to empower every person and organisation on the planet to achieve more will be near-impossible if people are not healthy; health precedes empowerment.  We also recognise that technology and connectivity are meaningless without basic human needs such as food, water, shelter and healthcare. We therefore support non-profits in the Middle East and Africa with technology grants that will help them to better serve the communities in the region.

For example, with our cutting-edge technology solutions, Kenyan non-profit I Choose Life (ICL) Africa is helping to grow and scale the critical sustainable development initiatives across Kenya and Africa.

The vision of ICL Africa is to have a healthy Africa and empowered people by deploying its own unique BioSIM app, which is powered by Microsoft Azure. The app is boosting healthcare in Kenya by enrolling household members in a specific health unit that is then fed to the national level.

“Azure is a great tool for non-profits like us because it is open and flexible, easy to deploy, works across platforms and allows for offline mode while working in areas without a reliable connection”, said Mike Mutungi, CEO of ICL. “It has also allowed us to take an important step forward in achieving our mission of designing interventions that solve real community problems”, he continued.

We are also transforming non-profits in the Middle East towards digital transformation. The Israeli emergency response organisation – United Hatzalah – relies on rapid communication with its volunteer community to be effective. With our cloud-powered tool, Office 365, alerts and tracking are executed in real-time, thereby empowering United Hatzalah to save more lives.

“By working in the Microsoft cloud, we are able to maintain our fast pace of work, around the clock, enabling us to save more lives,” said Dov Maisel, Vice President of International Operation at United Hatzalah. “From a group of 15 teenage volunteers, today, we have 4,000 volunteers who respond to about 900 calls every day nationwide.”

Similarly, in Pakistan, the Human Development Foundation (HDF) is touching thousands of lives across the country. The goal of the HDF is to give back and empower marginalised communities in Pakistan. To achieve this goal, the organisation is using Microsoft Azure and Office 365 to enhance its productivity and connectivity.

“The cloud solutions of Microsoft have allowed us to implement a better disaster recovery plan by creating a storage vault and migrating our data from on-premises to Azure,” said Zahid Ali Shah, HDF’s IT Manager. “We also have better data security and control over our intellectual data. It’s essential that we have this data at hand because we use it to share our impact and generate additional funding”.

With our technologies, including Skype for Business and OneDrive, HDF continues to improve its processes to minimise implementation time and associated costs.

“We have been able to transform our conventional ways of working to positively impact organisational productivity. We can now focus on empowering the underserved and realising positive social change”, Zahid continues.

While technology may not solve all human problems, we understand that technology is a force for good – an equalising force in the world. Therefore, we are digitally transforming non-profits to better equip them with the technologies they need to better serve the communities in the MEA.

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