India’s Telecommunications Consultants of India (TCIL) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with West African nations, Benin and Guinea to offer e-education – e-Vidyabharati, and telemedicine – e-Arogyabharati (e-VBAB) programs.

The MoU was signed during the Indian President’s three day visit to the western African Nations recently.

Under the MoU, TCIL will initially extend free e-education courses to about 15,000 African students and telemedicine courses to 5,000 doctors and paramedics in the two nations. However, the services would be extended to a self-sustainable model post the completion of the initial study under the pilot program.

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has initially proposed to start a pilot programme across 14 African countries including Ghana, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi, Zambia, Uganda, South Sudan, Liberia, Benin, Republic of Guinea, Ivory Coast, Mozambique, and Sudan.

The Pan-African e-network project (PAeNP) for e-education and telemedicine was conceived by India’s former President, APJ Abdul Kalam and formally launched on February 26, 2009. 5 educational institutions and 12 Indian super specialty hospitals had participated in the first phase of the programme which benefitted over 21,000 African students by conducting over 20,000 sessions. Besides, 6,700 continued medical education sessions (CME) and 800 telemedicine consultations were also provided to the African doctors, nurses and paramedical staff.