Skip to Content

University of Geneva, Switzerland

The University of Geneva is an institution devoted to research, teaching and dialogue. It is the site of academic creativity and the transmission of knowledge. Since its foundation in 1559 the UNIGE has developed ever higher ethical standards and steadily increased in quality and the will to innovation. Today it is one of Europe's leading universities. The UNIGE also shares the international calling of its host city, Geneva, a centre of international and multicultural activities with a venerable cosmopolitan tradition. Its desire to expand its collaboration with partner institutions and broaden its appeal to researchers and students from around the world has made the UNIGE a "globalised university", a meeting place for academic disciplines and various cultures, and a forum for ideas.

Since 2001, the Department of Radiology and Medical Informatics has been developing the RAFT project, a distance education and telemedicine network aimed at supporting healthcare professionals in sub-saharan Africa. The RAFT was first developed in Mali, then in Mauritania, Morocco, Cameroon, Burkina-Faso, Senegal, Tunisia, Ivory Coast, Madagascar, Niger, Burundi, Congo-Brazzaville, Algeria, Chad, and Benin. In 2008, it started its expansion in English-speaking Africa. The core activity of the RAFT is the webcasting of interactive courses targeted to physicians and other care professionals, the topics being proposed by the partners of the network. Courses are webcast every week, freely available, and followed by hundreds of professionals who can interact directly with the presenter(s). 70% of these courses are now produced and webcast by experts in Africa in a truly South-South network. A low bandwidth is sufficient, and enables the participation from remote hospitals or even cybercafés. Other activities of the RAFT network include teleconsultations, tele-echography, and collaborative development of educational on-line material. The network is currently organized and run by more than 30 national coordinators and an overall coordination team based at UNIGE and staffed by African trainees in medical informatics. National coordination teams, which have been trained in healthcare informatics, serve as relays within the countries with care providers, researchers, experts, and decision-makers. Since 2005, the Department is recognized as a UNESCO Chair for telemedicine and distance medical education, and member of the Uni-Twin program, and, since 2010, as a WHO Collaborating Center for eHealth and Telemedicine.

Antoine Geissbuhler, MD, is a Professor of Medical Informatics, Chairman of the Department of Radiology and Medical Informatics at Geneva University, Director of the Division of eHealth and Telemedicine at Geneva University Hospitals, and leads the WHO Collaboration Center for eHealth and Telemedicine. He is also President of the International Medical Informatics Association and President of the Executive Board of the Health-On-the-Net Foundation. He trained as a physician at Geneva University where he specialized in internal medicine, then, after a post-doctoral fellowship, became Associate Professor of medical informatics at Vanderbilt University before returning to Geneva. Author of more than 100 original scientific publications, his current research focuses on the development of innovative, knowledge-enabled information systems and computer-based tools for improving the quality, safety and efficiency of care processes, at the local level of the hospital, the regional level of a community healthcare informatics network, and at the global level with the Health-On-the-Net Foundation (http://www.hon.ch) and with the development of a large telemedicine network in Africa (http://raft.hcuge.ch)).
Georges Bediang, MD, is a physician from Cameroon, who obtained a Master of Advanced Studies in medical informatics in 2011, currently working in Geneva University on a MPH as well as a PhD in health information systems. His main focus for research is the use of appropriate eLearning tools to support care professionals and medical researchers in Africa. He has been involved in the coordination of telemedicine and eLearning activities of the RAFT network in Cameroon, and now at the international level.
Caroline Perrin, has a Master in Management of Information Systems and Service Sciences, and is currently a PhD student and research assistant at University of Geneva. Her research is focusing on impact metrics (and proxy indicators for impact) of elearning and tele-medical applications in Sub-Saharan Africa. Caroline is working since 2 years in the eHealth and Telemedicine department of the University Hospitals of Geneva, and participated to several eHealth projects in Africa.
Rafael Ruiz de Castañeda, International and pluridisciplinary academic and research background in natural and life sciences. Doctor in Disease Ecology (Superior Council for Scientific Research of Spain (CSIC), University Paris-Sud (France) and Wesleyan University of Ohio (USA)). Great professional and personal interests in Africa. Great interests in the use of e-tools for development of scientific research and formation in Africa.