Launch of the Global eHealth Ambassador?s Program

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 11th November 2011

The International Society for Telemedicine and eHealth (ISfTeH) is engaged in a new and exciting initiative called The Global eHealth Ambassadors Program (GeHAP), with seed funding from the Rockefeller Foundation and the Gulbenkian Foundation.

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu will chair an invitation-only meeting to launch the GeHAP at the premises of the Federation of Industries of the State of Rio de Janeiro (FIRJAN) in Rio de Janeiro, on the 11th of November 2011.

The purpose of the program is to raise the profile of eHealth worldwide, through advocacy activities. Advocacy plays a particularly important role within the broad framework of using ICT to strengthen health systems, especially in the Global South. Chaired by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the eHealth Ambassadors are globally recognized personalities who serve as high-level advocates for eHealth. They articulate consistent, ethical and evidence-based policy and advocacy positions with regard to the use of ICT in health; promote the development of integrated eHealth systems in countries; and advocate a higher profile for eHealth in health development activities, country budgets, bi-, and multi-lateral partnerships, and aid and development programs.

So far, six of the invitees have accepted to become eHealth Ambassadors. They are:
1. Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu
2. Prof. Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Former President of Brazil
3. Dr. Emilio Rui Vilar, President of the Gulbenkian Foundation
4. Lord Nigel Crisp, former CEO of the NHS, UK.
5. Peter Gabriel, Eminent musician
6. Strive Masiyiwa, Founder and CEO, Econet Wireless Group

The GeHAP is supported by the Rockefeller Foundation, which provided seed funding for exploratory work on the idea of such a program and the Gulbenkian Foundation which is supporting program activities. Microsoft Corporation has pledged to provide the communications platform, which will enable the Ambassadors to communicate with one another as well as with the program Secretariat. Imperial College, London, will provide a secretariat for the program. A second secretariat will be located in South Africa. Other major players in the eHealth space have been approached to provide both in-kind and other support to the program. In addition, individual events involve sponsors for the specific activities. In this vein, for the strategic planning meeting held in Cape Town on March 8th 2011, the Cape Grace Hotel provided free luxury suite accommodation to attending Ambassadors, a free meeting room for the event and reduced rates on luxury rooms for other attendees. The Federation of Industries of the State of Rio de Janeiro is hosting the launch at its facilities in Rio (

We are grateful to the Telehealth Center of the State University of Rio de Janeiro for their invaluable support in the organization of this event.

The Rockefeller Foundation
The Gulbenkian Foundation

The Cape Grace Hotel, Cape Town, South Africa ? Strategy meeting, March 2011
Federation of Industries of the State of Rio de Janeiro (FIRJAN) ? program launch November 2011

Launch Agenda
? Welcome by Dr.Eduardo Eugenio,President of FIRJAN
? Welcome Profa. Ana Estela,Secretariat of Management of Work and Education in Health, Ministry of Health of Brazil
? Welcome remarks by WHO
? Welcome and opening remarks by the host, President Fernando Henrique Cardoso
? Address by the Chair, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu who will conduct the Swearing in Ceremony
? Swearing in of Ambassadors
? Remarks by Ambassadors
? Presentation of the GeHAP by Prof. S. Yunkap Kwankam, Executive Director of the ISfTeH and Prof. Ricky Richardson, GeHAP Program Director
? Remarks by program sponsor - Neil Jordan, General Manager Worldwide Health, Microsoft Corporation
? Closing remarks and benediction by The Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu

To read more about this programme, click here.(GeHAP_launch_rep_1.pdf)

You can also find hereunder the links to the recorded files on YouTube of the launch ceremony :

Part 1

Part 2