Not just eHealth but in any national innovation, finding a champion to own, operate, and promote the new intervention is crucial. We found ours in Sri Lanka to take the Real-Time Biosurveillance Program (RTBP) to the next level; our champion is Dr. R.M.S.K Ratnayake, Wayamba Provincial Director of Health Services., who was not shy to tell the media the shortcomings of the present day disease surveillance system in Sri Lanka and how the piloted mobile health service can improve the efficiency gains. He has found ways to negotiate with a local mobile operator – Dialog Telekom – to provide 50 mobile phones and convince the Government of Sri Lanka to provide funds to operationalize the RTBP in the entire district of Kurunegala.
Finding champions and strategies were the heart of the discussions in Islamabad, Pakistan during the two day (29-30 September 2010) “sharing of knowledge workshop“. The media coined the workshop as “experts call for innovative“. Researchers from LIRNEasia shared the RTBP experience with public and private sector stakeholders in Pakistan, which comprised Ministry of Health directors, other Government officials, Researchers, and Practitioners who also shared their eHealth experience. Everyone in the room realized the need for eHealth capacity, specifically the need for eHealth stratergies, policies, and legal frameworks to be in place before the eHealth interventions can take full effect. The workshop was a collaboration between eHealth Association of Pakistan, Aga Khan University, and LIRNEasia.