One of the biggest ‘service shifts’ in the healthcare sector since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has been the widespread adoption of telehealth. As well as being a viable option to provide continuity of care and treatment to patients during the coronavirus pandemic, telehealth has transformed how health systems can respond to chronic workforce shortages and optimize their clinical capacities.


Last, 16th March, the International Hospital Federation (IHF) and the Africa Healthcare Federation (AHF) hosted a special webinar that shared learnings and knowledge about telehealth. The webinar discussed how telehealth addressed disparities of access to care and medical expertise.


Chaired by Sharon Allen, Executive Director of the World Telehealth Initiative (WTI), this webinar featured a mix of live presentations and panel discussions. The participants learned that the work of clinicians and WTI coordinators are to provide sustainable medical expertise and capacity building amongst communities to deliver core health services.


Sharon Allen

Co-founder and Executive Director of World Telehealth Initiative (WTI)

As Executive Director of the World Telehealth Initiative (WTI), Sharon has engaged with the American Telehealth Association, the White House Telehealth Innovation Summit, Nigeria’s Healthcare Today – Keynote, MENA Telehealth Conference, Telehealth Innovator’s Forum, AAFP Global Health Summit, and more. Under Sharon’s leadership, WTI has developed an innovative model that leverages remote philanthropic physicians to provide sustainable medical expertise via telehealth. Moreover, Sharon has been selected to serve on the World Health Organization Digital Health Board of Advisors and Roster of Experts. She is currently working with WHO on their Telehealth Roadmap for the Underserved.

Ronald Lavater

Chief Executive Officer of the International Hospital Federation 

Ronald leads the IHF Secretariat and has over 25 years of leadership experience in public and investor-owned healthcare companies in the United States and international markets. With extensive knowledge in hospital operations and ambulatory services including retail urgent care, Ronald has a deep and broad-based understanding of the healthcare services sector with a global perspective.

Dr. Amit N. Thakker

President of the Africa Healthcare Federation

Amit is the President of Africa Healthcare Federation, the immediate past-Chairman of Kenya Healthcare Federation and has served as a Director at LumiraDx, Seven Seas Technology, AMREF Flying Doctors, Action Aid and Ghanima Limited. Dr. Thakker actively supports governments, corporates, health organisations and development partners to foster effective public-private partnership initiatives towards improved health outcomes. As an active member of several institutions including international business group YPO Gold (Nairobi Chapter), Dr. Thakker also chairs the University of Nairobi Alumni Medical Chapter and serves as an advisor to Asia Africa Investing & Consulting Ltd, Coalition for Blood in Africa (CoBA) and Ministry of Health, Kenya.

Dr. Iftikher Mahmood

Founder and President of Hope Foundation for Women & Children of Bangladesh

Dr. Iftikher Mahmood was born and raised in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. He obtained his medical from Chittagong Medical College, University of Chittagong, in 1987. After working at a local mother and children’s hospital in Bangladesh, in 1999 Dr. Mahmood established the HOPE Foundation for Women & Children of Bangladesh as a charitable organization in the United States. The mission of HOPE Foundation is to provide healthcare to the poorest and economically marginalized mothers and children in Bangladesh. In 2017, during the massive influx of Rohingya refugees to Cox’s Bazar, Dr. Mahmood mobilized huge resources to aid the refugees with healthcare. Under his leadership, HOPE Foundation established several women’s health centres and a field hospital for women, the only hospital that focuses on maternal care inside the refugee camps.

Dr. Mehari Gebreyohanns

Associate Professor, Department of Neurology, UT Southwestern

Dr. Gebreyohanns earned his B.S. degree in Biology at Georgia State University and his medical degree at Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta. He is also an experienced stroke specialist and is recognized as a clinician, educator, mentor and leader who demonstrates “outside the box” approaches to address challenges. One such project he is known for is the Bahir Dar Outreach for Neuroscience Education, ‘BORNE Initiative’, a global outreach initiative he launched to address the disparity in neurological care in a region of Ethiopia where seven million people had no access to a neurologist. He designed a model which envisioned academic institutional education and research married to collaborations with health professionals across different specialties and institutions through direct teaching and distance learning to build a self-sufficient infrastructure for neurological education and clinical care.

Dr. Nosa Akpede

Executive Director of Precious, Nigeria

Nosa Akpede is a Public Health Physician by training.  She is a member of Urban Health 360 Communities and Observatories, USA. Presently, She is a Co-Principal investigator in a community survey on COVID-19 conducted by the University of Manchester and Precious Gems as well as a Co-principal investigator (follow-up of survivals), CEPI. Nosa Akpede was the lead in the Edo state team for selection and accreditation of health facilities in local government areas of Edo State Central Senatorial districts for COVID-19. 


We at the International Hospitals Federation would like to thank our partners for their contribution in organizing the event: