One step closer to interoperability: Applying SNOMED CT’s engine to the International Patient Summary

In 2022, SNOMED International will extend the core of SNOMED CT’s structured clinical terminology to deliver an open, standalone sub-ontology to support the scope of content within the International Patient Summary (IPS) under a Creative Commons license. London, United Kingdom, Nov. 25, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — At SNOMED International’s recent October Business Meetings held in […]

In 2022, SNOMED International will extend the core of SNOMED CT’s structured clinical terminology to deliver an open, standalone sub-ontology to support the scope of content within the International Patient Summary (IPS) under a Creative Commons license.

London, United Kingdom, Nov. 25, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — At SNOMED International’s recent October Business Meetings held in London, the organization’s governance bodies enacted a decision to extend the core of SNOMED CT’s structured clinical terminology to deliver an open, standalone sub-ontology to support the scope of content within the International Patient Summary (IPS.)

The IPS is an electronic health record extract containing essential healthcare information for use in the unscheduled, cross-border care scenario, as well as for local, regional and other care scenarios. It is a minimal, non-exhaustive set of data elements defined by ISO/EN 17269 and delivered by HL7 in both CDA and FHIR using a curated set of SNOMED CT terms.

There is a groundswell of support across all health sectors to increase the portability and usability of patient information for the purpose of safe health care delivery. In 2019, SNOMED International and HL7 International announced the formalization of a license agreement in which a relevant ‘Free for Use’ Set of SNOMED CT coded concepts would be used within the HL7 IPS. Most recently, we watched as G7 leaders collaborated to release a communique on the dire need to progress a global health interoperability agenda. IBM offers a working definition of interoperability as “the timely and secure access, integration and use of electronic health data so that it can be used to optimize health outcomes for individuals and populations.”  The G7 communique, which highlighted the importance of enabling digital healthcare systems worldwide to work together seamlessly as patients move between providers, facilities and even countries, is an impactful statement that rippled throughout the global health community. A charge taken up by the Global Digital Health Partnership, it is one SNOMED International is eager to support.

Embracing a collaborative approach, “SNOMED International has been pleased to continue to work with HL7 International and partners across Europe and beyond to define SNOMED CT content for use in the International Patient Summary,” offered SNOMED International Management Board Chair, Joanne Burns.

Continuing to act in the spirit of the IPS Freeset, SNOMED International has committed to create and release an openly available IPS sub-ontology in the first half of 2022 to enhance the existing cross border movement of information, and ultimately health system interoperability. Unlike SNOMED International’s Global Patient Set, a flat list of SNOMED CT codes and terms, an IPS sub-ontology will provide implementers with a product that can be used in healthcare solutions using the power of SNOMED CT through its query language and hierarchies for the specified scope. Use of the IPS sub-ontology will allow for more effective use of clinical data analytics and decision support, and for Artificial Intelligence applications.

Alex Elias, Chair of SNOMED International’s General Assembly, the organization’s Member governance body, has observed a significant increase in discussion regarding the IPS. “2021 has seen increased interest by governments and Health and Care organizations globally for implementing the IPS to enhance timely cross border health information flow and interoperability. This has been a primary driver in SNOMED International supporting this recent initiative to make the IPS sub-ontology openly available with SNOMED CT content.“

An organization with an extensive history and active program of collaboration, SNOMED International CEO, Don Sweete, has played a pivotal role in positioning the IPS sub-ontology as a ‘soon to be achieved’ reality. “As the G7 Health Ministers recently indicated, the importance of enabling digital healthcare systems worldwide to work together seamlessly so patients don’t suffer as they move between providers, facilities and even countries is a sentiment that has rippled throughout the global health community”, offered Sweete. He went on to state that, “continued work with fellow health standards development, national, clinical and technical entities, SNOMED International will dedicate resources to achieve the goal of digital health interoperability.” Sweete added, “equipping the IPS, already one of the best examples of international collaboration among standards bodies, with the full capability of SNOMED CT’s ontological design is a significant action that we can contribute to achieving health information access gains for patients.”

Over the coming months, SNOMED International is formalizing the steps and due diligence required to make the IPS sub-ontology available for broad release. Throughout this period, SNOMED International will continue to define the IPS sub-ontology, from content through to its release and maintenance approach for launch in the first half of 2022.

Visit SNOMED International’s IPS Sub-Ontology information page or subscribe to the organization’s news service to learn more as this initiative progresses. For additional information, contact


About SNOMED International

SNOMED International is a not-for-profit organization that owns and develops SNOMED CT, the world’s most comprehensive healthcare terminology product. We play an essential role in improving the health of humankind by determining standards for a codified language that represents groups of clinical terms. This enables healthcare information to be exchanged globally for the benefit of patients and other stakeholders. We are committed to the rigorous evolution of our products and services, to deliver continuous innovation for the global healthcare community. SNOMED International is the trading name of the International Health Terminology Standards Development Organisation.


Kelly Kuru
SNOMED International

Cameroonian Fishermen Harvest Invasive Aquatic Fern to Create Energy Source

DIZANGUÉ, CAMEROON — Cameroon’s largest lake, Lake Ossa, has been invaded by Salvinia molesta, an aquatic fern native to Brazil that hinders navigation, makes fishing impossible and blocks water access. To combat the spreading plant, a local aid group is training fishermen to harvest the fern and transform it into organic coal.

Florent Tsanga and other fishermen meet twice a week to remove what they can.

Since Salvinia molesta invaded Cameroon’s largest lake in 2016, Tsanga’s life has changed for the worse.

He said his children do not go to school because of the salvinia. When the lake was good, in the ’80s and ’90s, he said, the children went to school. But these days, he can’t afford it.

Lake Ossa is a wildlife reserve that’s home to freshwater turtles, crocodiles, manatees and more than 18 species of fish.

A local aid group has trained community fishermen to transform the salvinia into organic coal.

After the fern is collected, it is dried and burned. The resulting powder is mixed with other substances and then passed through a mold to create charcoal pieces for domestic use.

Because the aquatic plant grows back every seven days, the aid group is also experimenting with a biological solution — raising a weevil that will feed specifically on salvinia. The group has released the weevil in a pilot site in the lake.

They hope the insect will multiply, feed on the salvinia leaves, and produce larva that will attach to new plant growth.

“And birth is where the new leaves are coming out, and at that level, you have proteins that the plant uses to grow,” explained Aristide Kamla, founder of African Marine Mammal Conservation Organization. “The larva will hijack those proteins and therefore will stop the growth of the plant. So, not only the weevil will stop the growth of the plants, but it will also destroy the biomass already present.”

The Cameroon government has agreed to a pilot test of this biological solution but has not discounted other methods, said Sylvain Hector Ebog, the conservator of the Lake Ossa Wildlife Reserve.

“We would like to see the mechanical method applied as well as the biological control,” Ebog said, adding that biological control might take much longer. “We can apply both methods. We are looking for funding.”

While the fishermen in Lake Ossa are willing to sell the salvinia charcoal to make some money, they said they would rather see a solution to clean up the lake so that they can resume fishing.


Source: Voice of America

Logistical Challenges Hampering Africa’s COVID-19 Vaccination Drives

NAIROBI, KENYA — As deliveries of COVID-19 vaccines to Africa finally pick up, many nations are struggling with the logistics of accelerating their inoculation campaigns, the head of Africa’s disease control body said on Thursday.

Only 6.6% of Africa’s population of 1.2 billion is fully vaccinated, John Nkengasong, head of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), told a virtual news conference. That means Africa is far from reaching the African Union’s aim of fully vaccinating 70% of people by the end of 2022, he added.

“What we are seeing now is a lot more vaccines coming in and the uptake is challenged because of the logistics and delivery,” said Nkengasong. “It’s not necessarily about hesitancy, it’s about moving vaccines from the airport to the arms (of people), it’s about logistics.”

He named Democratic Republic of Congo and Cameroon as having particular logistical challenges but said many other African countries faced similar problems.

Congo has so far administered about 168,000 doses of COVID vaccines, a Reuters tracker showed, enough to have fully vaccinated just 0.1% of the population.

In April, authorities reallocated to other African countries most of the 1.7 million COVID-19 vaccine doses Congo had received a month earlier from the COVAX vaccine-sharing facility because they were set to expire.

Across Africa, authorities successfully conduct routine mass vaccination campaigns against diseases such as measles. But many struggled earlier in the year when COVID-19 doses arrived, citing shortages of funding, training, and cold storage.

Of some 403 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines distributed to 54 African countries, only 55% of them, or 221 million, have been administered.

South Africa has asked Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N) and Pfizer (PFE.N) to delay delivery of more COVID-19 vaccines because it now has too many in stock, as vaccine hesitancy slows its inoculation campaign, Reuters reported on Wednesday.


Source: Voice of America

Statement by the Humanitarian Coordinator in Cameroon condemning the killing of school children in the South-West region

Yaoundé, The Humanitarian Coordinator in Cameroon, Mr. Matthias Z. Naab is deeply saddened and shocked by another attack against a school, leading the death of four children and a teacher in the South-West region.

On 24 November, unidentified gunmen attacked a Government Bilingual High School in Ekondo Titi, South-West region. Four students aged 12 to 17 and a teacher were killed, and an unconfirmed number of students and teachers were injured and are receiving treatment.

“I strongly condemn attacks on schools, teachers, and children. They are a serious violation of international human rights law and of the right to education. The perpetrators of such heinous acts and those supporting them must be held accountable. I urge all parties to respect and promote the right to education,” said Mr. Naab.

The opposition against Government administered education by non-State armed groups and subsequent attacks on education continue to mark the crisis in the North-West and South-West of Cameroon. As a result, over 700,000 students remain out of school. Five years into the crisis, attacks against education continue. Violence against education facilities and personnel as well as kidnapping for ransom of children and teachers by non-State armed groups are reported on a regular basis.


Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

Einstein notes with sketches of relativity theory sold in Paris auction for $13 million

Paris, A manuscript co-authored by Albert Einstein, offering a rare insight into the legendary physicist’s thinking leading up to his general theory of relativity, was sold in an auction on Tuesday for 11.7 million euros ($13.17 million).


Auction house Christie’s had estimated the value of the manuscript at between 2 million and 3 million euros.


The 54 pages of paper, around half filled with Einstein’s handwriting, are one of only two working documents known in which the thinker approaches his famous theory that laid the groundwork for modern cosmology and technology such as GPS navigation.


They had been kept in the custody of the Swiss physicist Michele Besso, a close friend and academic partner of Einstein’s, who co-authored the work between 1913 and 1914.


“That’s also what makes it particularly important given that working documents by Einstein before 1919 are extremely rare,” said Vincent Belloy, an expert at Christie’s who hosted the auction in Paris, Reuters REPORTED.


“Einstein is someone who kept very few notes, so the mere fact that the manuscript survived and made its way to us already makes it absolutely extraordinary,” he added.


Made up mainly of endless calculations in black ink on wrinkled, slightly yellowed paper, the manuscript challenges Einstein’s popular image as an absolute genius, because it shows that even he – at least sometimes – made mistakes.


“Einstein makes errors in this manuscript, and that I think makes it even greater in a way, because we see the persistence, the thought that was in the process of being built, that is being corrected and redirected,” Belloy said.


In May, a handwritten letter in which Einstein mentioned his famous E=mc² equation, a part of his earlier theory of special relativity, was sold at roughly one million euros in the United States, more than three times its estimated price.


With his general theory of relativity that was published in 1915, Einstein revolutionized modern physics when he first described gravitation as a geometric warping of space and time, a finding that remains valid.


Christie’s did not reveal the name of the buyer.


Source: Bahrain News Agency

Morocco, Israel sign landmark security cooperation pact

Israel and Morocco have signed a landmark agreement that lays the foundation for security cooperation, intelligence sharing, and future arms sales.

The memorandum of understanding between Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz and his Moroccan counterpart Abdellatif Loudiyi was signed on Wednesday in Rabat, as part of the first official visit by an Israeli defense minister to one of the Arab states that normalized ties last year.

In a statement, Gantz said that the agreement was “very significant and will allow us to exchange ideas, enter joint projects and enable Israeli military exports here.”

Gantz also met with the Moroccan military chief of staff and was greeted by a color guard of soldiers clad in red tunics, blue slacks, and gleaming gold epaulets.

Israel and Morocco enjoyed low-level diplomatic relations in the 1990s, but Morocco severed them after a Palestinian uprising erupted in 2000. Despite that, the two states have maintained informal relations.

Nearly half a million Israelis claim Moroccan heritage as more than 200,000 immigrated to Israel after the founding of the state in 1948.

Morocco is still home to a small Jewish community, and Rabat has one remaining synagogue, where Gantz will visit at the close of his two-day trip.

In exchange for Morocco normalizing relations with Israel in December 2020, the Trump administration promised to recognize Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara, a disputed North African territory.

The announcement upset decades of US policy and international consensus that Western Sahara’s status should be settled by a UN referendum.

The Abraham Accords broke a longstanding consensus among Arab states that normalization with Israel only takes place as part of a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Palestinians view the agreements as a betrayal that eroded their leverage with Israel.


Source: Nam News Network