Dr. Richard Lester is an Infectious Diseases physician and Associate Professor at the University of British Columbia, Canada, and Co-Founder of WelTel Health (www.weltelhealth.com
), a digital health social enterprise company. Dr. Lester provided the world’s first evidence that text messaging directly with patients could improve treatment outcomes in the WelTel Kenya1 trial of patients with HIV/AIDS starting antiretroviral therapy (ART) in Kenya, which was supported by PEPFAR and published in The Lancet in 2010. WelTel’s patient follow-up and engagement service has since been used to support and monitor patients with HIV, TB, chronic and non-chronic diseases in both primary and specialty care, mental health problems, and maternal and newborn child health (MNCH) globally, including several countries in Africa, Canada, the United States, New Zealand, and Peru. In 2020, WelTel was adopted by the Rwanda government to support outpatients in the national COVID-19 Home-Based Care program and later for Ebola. WelTel is a registered company in Rwanda. Dr. Lester is a Member of the Roster of Experts of the World Health Organization Digital Health Task Force, and recipient of Digital Health Canada’s Clinical Innovator of the Year Award in 2020. WelTel is currently working to improve outcomes and save lives for all, including women, children, and vulnerable people, leaving no one behind.