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The making of STELLA Center of Excellence

Part 1: 2020

Born from an idea where innovation meets public health, and guided by the fundamental principle that everyone deserves access to equitable, functioning health systems, the STELLA Center of Excellence was created as a vehicle to consolidate the expertise, creativity, knowledge, and passion of stakeholders across global healthcare. STELLA is designed to create a global ecosystem of partners for the conception and implementation of innovative healthcare solutions in low- and middle- income countries (LMIC). Together with us, STELLA was co-founded by Novartis and the Swiss TPH. Its mission is bold and its scope broad enough to encompass wide-reaching development goals, but contained enough to drive effective change.

STELLA aims to continue addressing health system challenges throughout the world by growing its network and opening its platform for the development of systems-driven solutions. Our partners include academic institutions, pharmaceutical companies, multilateral health organizations, health tech innovators, governments, and philanthropic organizations, among others. STELLA ultimately intends to drive systems-level changes that are forward-thinking and sustainable to build better health systems for all.

Part 2: 2021

One of STELLA’s flagship projects has been the collaboration between Novartis, the HISP (Health Information Systems Program) Center of the University of Oslo and University of Basel, with the aim of tackling supply chain inefficiencies in the health sector to improve access to medicines. In particular, the partnership focuses on further developing the logistics components within the District Health Information Software 2 (DHIS2), the world’s largest open-source, web-based health management information system deployed in about 100 African and Asian countries whereas approx. 40 countries are using it for logistics (related) purposes.

Supply chain inefficiencies are the primary cause for poor drug availability, especially in hard-to-reach areas of LMICs. A transparent, data-driven logistics management information system (LMIS) is the cornerstone for the development of a functioning supply chain in LMICs, particularly sub-Saharan Africa.

DHIS2 is an open-source health management information systems platform used in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC) to collect and organize health data, and is considered the global gold standard for HMIS in LMICs. Together with HISP Center of the University of Oslo and Novartis, we are developing an open-source, continent-compatible predictive LMIS integrated within the DHIS2 network which couples real-time supply information at the point of care with case and epidemiological data. This will be the first open-source system with the potential to fully enable robust access to medicines when they are needed and where they are needed.

Part 3: 2022

Based on an internal strategic review, the key focus area on predictive analytics was prioritized. Another area of interest includes the development of DHIS2 metadata packages (MDPs; refer to guidelines and configuration for a specific DHIS2 implementation, generally a specific disease, validated by a standard-setting organization such as WHO) for malaria, chagas, sickle-cell disease and leprosy.

Supporting the development of advanced logistics forecasting in conjunction with a national eLMIS (logistic management information system) started in the first half of 2022 by gaining a solid understanding of the ecosystem on predictive analytics. This includes:

  • to identify key players, terms and standards

  • to engage with the identified ‘core’ stakeholders working on the topic (e.g. public, private, academia, start-ups, donors)

  • to achieve a common level of shared needs around predictive analytics, including a possible understanding/vision for a collaborative project.

With the support of Novartis, STELLA will facilitate the interaction between selected experts in the network and UiO concerning the development and validation of MDPs for:

  • Leprosy

  • Sickle-cell disease (SCD)

  • Chagas

With the physical participation of the annual DHIS2 conference in Oslo end of June, STELLA got in touch with key stakeholders and gained interest in future collaborations.

Stay tuned for more!

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