Andrés Fernández Martínez

Ashoka Fellow
Madrid, Spain
Fellow Since 2008


This profile was prepared when Andrés Fernández Martínez was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2008.
The New Idea
Through systems improvements, Andrés is closing the communication gap between rural medical outposts staffed by paramedics that serve remote villages and larger, physician-run medical centers. By creating functional communication processes between these professionals, he allows them to save the valuable time normally spent traveling between locations for reports and consultations, thus improving their effectiveness as care providers. He is working with local medical staff and engineers to design and provide easy, cheap and sustainable technological solutions that can be used around the world to reduce public healthcare costs and increase efficiency.

The process improvements Andrés has implemented are releasing doctors and medical workers from having to make difficult decisions—often beyond their professional capacity—on their own. Now, they are can rely on each other through professional networks created through improved channels of communication. Through these networks, he has provided care providers with full access to the healthcare system’s resources including ongoing training, the ability to exchange medical and epidemiological information, and specialist consultation for individual cases. Ultimately, Andrés’s efforts enable these individuals to grow professionally, gain confidence, and overcome the feeling of isolation that generally accompanies working in remote villages. This way he is making a way for the public healthcare system to fully reach citizens no matter where they live.

Andrés also works to empower universities to play a bigger part in serving their communities and improving the healthcare system’s performance in rural areas. Through partnerships with telecommunication engineering and medical departments in local universities, he is engaging professors and students to take the lead in designing and launching these changes. Local University faculty is taking part in a completely new field of work: Technology applied to rural health, in which they are quickly becoming experts while also improving their rural reality. Andrés’s approach transforms professors from theoretical researchers to hands-on, multi-disciplinary leaders implementing innovative solutions to their communities’ problems. By making structures like Universities active resources in his initiative, Andrés places the stability and sustainability on a local level, avoiding full dependency on foreign aid.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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