New Cities Foundation Launches E-health Task Force in Rio de Janeiro

Pioneering initiative will adopt mobile solutions in healthcare to benefit the community in the Dona Marta favela

Rio de Janeiro, December 9th, 2012. The NewCities Foundation, a Swiss non-profit organization dedicated to urban innovation in 21st century cities globally, is launching a pioneering project to improve access to healthcare for residents of Dona Marta, with the support of the Secretariat for Healthcare of the City of Rio de Janeiro.

Together, NewCities members GE, the Secretariat for Healthcare of the City of Rio, Cisco, Orange, the State University of Rio de Janeiro, Fiocruz and the SENSEable City Lab at MIT met this week at Rio City Hall and in Dona Marta to launch the initiative.

This project will be hosted in the favela of Dona Marta, a low income neighborhood in the center of Rio, where health services are concentrated in one public medical center, the Clínica da Família. From the first half of 2012 onwards, NCF will deploy state of the art mobile healthcare technology to test the impact this technology can have on the delivery of healthcare to underserved communities.

NewCities taskforce will provide mobile health equipment to monitor the population’s health with the help of trained-professionals. The initiative will test a new model of healthcare delivery which should specifically benefit patients with limited mobility, those suffering from chronic diseases and patients unaware of their right to medical care- i.e. those currently at the fringe of the health system. Community workers will also be given simple digital tablets to collect information on each patient, providing interesting data on the potential for replacing existing inefficient paper-based health records.

Mathieu Lefevre, Former Executive Director of NewCities said, “NewCities believes improving access to health particularly for underserved communities is one of the most crucial challenges facing cities worldwide and this is an area where IT-based innovations can make a radical change. We are delighted to bring together a rich community of international and Brazilian partners to address this issue in a city as dynamic as Rio.”

Dr Hans Dohmann, Secretary for Health and Civil Defense of the City of Rio de Janeiro, commented, “We welcome opportunities like this to partner with global leaders on initiatives to see how technology can improve the health of our population. Rio has a rapidly aging population with limited mobility and health problems, similar to many cities in Brazil and other developed and emerging countries, and hence it is imperative that we develop new solutions that make the better use of technology.”

After the pilot period, NewCities hopes to provide a useful case study for a scalable and replicable e-health model that can be applied to other areas of Rio, to other cities in Brazil and around the world.


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