eHealth Africa wins outstanding International Non-Governmental Organization of the year

On Wednesday, December 12, 2018, the eHealth Africa team in Sierra Leone won outstanding International Non-governmental organization (INGO) of the year award presented by the Sierra Leone CEO council at the Golden Tulip Hotel, Aberdeen, Freetown, Sierra Leone.  eHA was selected the winner of this year’s award from amongst dozens of other NGOs working in Sierra Leone.

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The Sierra Leone CEO council awards is a landmark annual event for the Sierra Leonean business, political, NGO  and diplomatic community that takes place at the end of each year. In its third year now, the event celebrates excellence, innovation, commitment and best practices in the corporate, public and NGO sectors across Sierra Leone. The theme for this year’s event was: Celebrating exceptional leadership and corporate excellence in Sierra Leone.

Organizations were selected based on the impact they are contributing to many spheres of life. eHealth Africa has been outstanding in the area of development, especially in the health sector.
— Joseph Moore, Chairman, 2018 Organising Committee, Sierra Leone CEO council Awards.

eHA has been working in Sierra Leone since 2014 and we have successfully implemented projects in the areas of Health Delivery, Public Health Emergency System and Disease Surveillance . Our most recent country report shows the progress and successes we’ve accomplished so far this year.   

At this year’s awards, eHA’s Sonia Khalil, Procurement Supervisor, won an award for Outstanding Non-Profit Professional Staff of The Year 2018.

I would like to thank my organization ‘eHealth Africa’ , for giving me the opportunity to take part in the Ebola Response Emergency Management system since the very beginning of the outbreak, wherein we used data management support which reduced the response time to procure test results, streamline the tracing & monitoring of potentially infectious individuals and ultimately contain the spread and severity of the outbreak.
Thanks to all eHealth Africa senior management staff, particular Evelyn our Executive Director, the Deputy Director and my line manager. Your contribution to my growth has made me developed a strong international field experience in supply chain and made me diplomatic, cultural and gender sensitive.
— Sonia Khalil

Internship Spotlight: Eleanor Williamson-Taylor

Eleanor Williamson-Taylor is a programs Intern at eHealth Africa (eHA) in Sierra Leone. She joined eHA in September 2018.  Eleanor currently works with the Public Health Workforce Development Team (PHWD). Her role involves liaising and coordinating with various PHWD stakeholders including the Directorate of Human Resources for Health, Directorate of Health Securities and Emergencies, Clinton Health Access Initiative, and U.S Centers for Disease Control (CDC), among other partners to ensure effective collaboration in developing the strategy for development of the public health workforce in Sierra Leone.

She says more in this:

World AIDS Day Spotlight

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According to the World Health Organization, 36.9 million people worldwide are living with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and the largest proportion of those people are in Africa.  Africa also accounts for two-thirds of the global total of new HIV infections. However, WHO estimates that over 40% of people who are infected with the HIV virus are unaware of their status. In 2014, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and its partners launched the global 90–90–90 targets— to diagnose 90% of all HIV-positive persons, provide antiretroviral therapy (ART) for 90% of those diagnosed, and achieve viral suppression for 90% of those treated by 2020.

Nigeria has the second largest HIV epidemic in the world and one of the highest rates of new infection in sub-Saharan Africa. 1 There are several agencies within the country working together to meet the 90-90-90 target to help end the AIDS epidemic. This year, eHealth Africa partnered with Solina Group on the Nigeria AIDS Indicator and Impact Survey, which is focused on assessing the prevalence of HIV and Hepatitis B and C in the country. eHA developed a mobile data collection tool which is being used to monitor the activities of field survey teams to ensure that they comply with laid- down standards. The field survey teams will visit selected households across all 36 states of Nigeria, and conduct HIV, Hepatitis B & C counseling and testing. eHA trained over 40 personnel including field monitors, supervisors and data analysts to use the electronic survey tools developed to collect, access, modify and publish data.  We also set up a data collection system to aggregate and process this data, which Solina Group uses for their analysis. So far, 29 states and the FCT have been monitored successfully.

The results of this survey will provide key information that will guide the Government to plan and develop more effective programs to control HIV and Hepatitis in Nigeria leading to healthier individuals and families.

With projects like this, eHA helps to support the fight against HIV/AIDS.

Meet the Team - Abdulkareem Iyamu

Meet Abdulkareem Iyamu, a Senior Coordinator with our Operations team at our Kano Campus in Nigeria!

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Kareem, as he is fondly called, works with the Geo- Referenced Infrastructure and Demographic Data for Development (GRID3)  project that mapped 25 states in Nigeria plus the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). Currently, the project focuses on supporting states to use the geospatial data for informed decision making. The implementation of the project is mostly field-based and therefore, requires constant logistics support.

Kareem coordinates the operations side of the project. He makes sure people and resources are where they need to be at all times. He organizes travel plans, coordinates activities and event, and oversees the purchase and delivery of equipment. He ensures that the GRID3 project runs smoothly and often jokes that he could pass for the SCRUM master on the project.

Kareem joined eHA in 2017 and he has proved to be a valuable asset to his team and to eHealth Africa as a whole. He is well known and liked for his skills in organizing and is often drafted into various planning committees. He works hard to build relationships that are beneficial to the program and to eHA. Recently, he identified and helped eHA to win an opportunity for a household survey with Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) in Kaduna State, Nigeria.

In Kareem’s opinion, eHA is a platform where every skill is valued and can be honed.

The GRID3 team and eHA as a whole, have done excellently. I am particularly proud of the fact that we successfully completed phase one of the GRID3 project, in record time. At the beginning of the project, it seemed like a herculean feat to map the whole country in 7 months but we did it.
— Abdulkareem Iyamu

Are you passionate about operations and logistics? Click here to read more about career options at eHA.

Meet the Winners - #KadHack2018

 Maaruf Dauda, Mercy Markus & Swam Didam Bobby - Team Egress

Maaruf Dauda, Mercy Markus & Swam Didam Bobby - Team Egress

The Geo-Referenced Infrastructure and Demographic Data for Development (GRID3) project was born out of the successful mapping of 11 northern states during the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI).  Building on that, the GRID3 project scaled up to collect geospatial data and to map the remaining 25 states, plus FCT. Datasets relevant to Nigeria’s development needs across sectors such as health, education, environment, agriculture, urban planning, and investment promotion, were collected. Some of the data collected is currently being used in the health sector to support the planning and delivery of polio and routine immunization in Nigeria -  http://vts.eocng.org

To support governments, ministries, departments and agencies to identify use cases for the data collected in phase one of the GRID3 project in their states, eHealth Africa’s GRID3 team partnered with CoLab Innovation Hub, the Kaduna State Bureau of Statistics (KDBS), the  Kaduna State Budget and Planning Commission, the Kaduna State Government, and Kaduna ICTHub, to host a first of its kind hackathon, KadHack2018, in Kaduna State from November 27 - 29, 2018.

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KadHack2018 was an opportunity for stakeholders in the technology sector to engage the Kaduna state government and gain firsthand insight into the challenges in the Education and Health sectors, in order to come up with software prototypes that could be further developed to solve problems within those sectors. The hackathon was split into 2 categories - a 3-day  on-site hackathon, and an online Hackathon for people outside the state.

The winners were announced today, meet Maaruf Dauda, Mercy Markus and Swam Didam Bobby who are Team Egress.  Their multifunctional “TrackIt” solution provides real-time mobile tracking, that can be used to track goods, vehicles and can also be used to report outbreaks using geo-coordinates. Congratulations to all the teams that participated!

To view more photos from the event, please click here.



World GIS Day 2018

World GIS Day is celebrated annually on November 14. The day provides a platform for stakeholders and users of geographic information to identify, create and demonstrate context-specific applications by which geospatial data can be used to transform our society.

This year, eHA’s GIS team focused on educating the next generation of prospective GIS data collectors, analysts and user— secondary school students in Governors’ College, Kano. The team enlightened the students on the power of geography and how GIS can be used to stimulate development. The team was also on hand to answer questions from the students.

Click through the slideshow to see how it went.

eHealth Africa: The Founders’ Story

Technology has the ability to transform and improve healthcare in Africa- this is the belief that eHealth Africa (eHA) was founded on.

eHealth Africa was conceived by Evelyn Castle and Adam Thompson, during their work placement at a Family Health Center in Kaduna state, Nigeria. They witnessed firsthand how overwhelming it was for the staff to track patient information and progress using paper-based methods.

Nearly a decade after, eHA has evolved into a health social enterprise that develops electronic health solutions using our expertise in logistics, geographic information systems, and technology. eHA is a team of over 500 people with country offices in Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Germany, and the US; and operations across the region.

Watch this video to hear the tale straight from our founders.

You can also click here to read Evelyn’s blog about her inspiration to start eHealth Africa.

Meet The Team - Patricia Jangah

Meet Patricia Jangah, the Human Resources Manager in our Sierra Leone office!

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Patricia joined the eHealth Africa (eHA) team over 2 years ago. She started working with eHA as Manager, Human Resources. She supports all projects at eHA in Sierra Leone.

Patricia maintains and enhances the organization's human resources by planning, implementing and evaluating employee relations and human resources policies, programs, and practices at all times for effectiveness and efficiency. In doing this, she sets up strategies to recruit, develop, retain and reward staff. She Supervises two staff and their department’s mantra is “give results not excuses”. She serves as a connection between the labor related government agencies and eHA in Sierra Leone.

One of Patricia’s greatest successes at #eHA was the development and roll out of the Sierra Leone employee handbook, the development and implementation of an engagement program, called “ Team of the Quarter”. Her department also prides itself on increasing the utilization rate of the HRIS - BambooHR and the attendance software (Swipeclock) by employees to 100% and introducing and maintaining a well structured onboarding program for new employees joining the eHA team in Sierra Leone.

Patricia has also been a vital contributor to the management of all staff related activities in eHA Sierra Leone. Her strength is in creating systems and procedures that make work seamless, and she has successfully done so for the HR team in the Sierra Leone office. She encourages staff development, coaching and mentoring of her supervisees. We are happy to have Patricia on board the eHealth Africa team.

Patricia is particularly proud about the fact that she has been able to put eHA’s HR systems and procedures for success and to create awareness in the organization around Sierra Leone’s labor policies and their  legal implications.

Would you like to be a part of our team? Click here to find out more.

eHealth Africa’s CornBOT wins Fall Armyworm Tech Prize for Frontier Innovation

Fall Armyworm (FAW) is a major farm pest capable of destroying 85 plant species including maize, sorghum, and tomato. Projections show that if FAW is not checked, sub- Saharan Africa could lose up to $13bn worth of food, keeping 300 million people in hunger.

In response to this, Feed the Future partnered with Land O’Lakes International Development and the Foundation for Food and Agriculture to launch the Fall Armyworm Tech Prize in March 2018. The prize sought for timely, context-specific entries that would enable smallholder farmers to identify, treat and track the incidence of Fall Armyworm in Africa.

 CornBot mobile app

CornBot mobile app

eHealth Africa partnered with Dr. Cornelius Adewale, the Bullitt Environmental Fellow at Washington State University (WSU), to develop CornBot, a mobile application equipped with audio-visual algorithms to enable farmers to identify, detect, prevent, manage and control FAW on their farms. The app is very user friendly as it is also available in the farmers’  local languages.

The application also provides handy information that allows the farmer to make requests for specialist’s help where needed. CornBot also has a dashboard that provides real-time information and a heat map for CornBot-reported FAW diagnosis and detection to researchers, decision makers and other stakeholders for surveillance purposes and informed decision making.

 Fall Armyworm Tech Prize - Frontier Innovation award

Fall Armyworm Tech Prize - Frontier Innovation award

Out of 225 applications from countries all over the world, CornBot scaled through four stages, including a user testing stage among smallholder farmers to ensure viability and effectiveness, and emerged as one of the 6 winners of the Fall Armyworm Tech Prize. At the AfricaCom Awards, eHealth Africa was presented with the Frontier Innovation award and was also awarded prize money of US $50,000.

About CornBot, the FAW Tech Prize panel had this to say, “CornBot had the highest testing score of all the solutions because the app’s interface was extremely easy to use and included a step by step FAW identification system for farmers. The solution is extremely comprehensive and accessible due to its use of human-centered design”

Through CornBot and our nutrition and food security systems focus area, eHealth Africa aims to develop data-driven, technological approaches to improving the quality and availability of nutritious food products throughout West Africa.

The Gender Gap in Public Health- Our Executive Director’s Perspective

 Health care workers in Sierra Leone at an eIDSR training

Health care workers in Sierra Leone at an eIDSR training

The World Health Summit brings together stakeholders from health sectors and systems around the world to address pressing issues and chart a course for healthcare and medicine. On October 14-16, 2018, over 2,000 participants from countries all over the world converged at the World Health Summit in Berlin, Germany.

Our Executive Director, Evelyn Castle attended the summit and spoke on a panel discussing “Digital Integration of Surveillance and Outbreak Response Management”. She shared eHealth Africa’s experience leveraging digital surveillance tools such as Ebola Sense Follow-up and Electronic Integrated Disease Surveillance Response System (eIDSR) through an integrated data platform.

Watch her full presentation here

She was one of the only 102 women panelists who participated in the discussion. Some panels, in fact, had no women. This brought the issue of the gender gap in public health to the fore through a dedicated panel discussion tagged Addressing the Gender Dimensions for Health Systems Strengthening. She talks more about it on her Linkedin blog.

The World Health Organization estimates that over 70% of the global health workforce is made up of women but half of their contributions are unpaid or unacknowledged.

 Community health mobilizers at Kawaji Primary Healthcare Center Kano state, Nigeria

Community health mobilizers at Kawaji Primary Healthcare Center Kano state, Nigeria

Women bring a lot to the table not just as frontline health workers but as primary caregivers on whom the responsibility of executing the end stage of all health policies, strategies and programs fall. For example, policies on antenatal care or routine immunization will remain unexecuted if mothers do not bring their children to the health facilities. In addition, a female health worker is an essential asset to the health system, especially in communities where there are cultural or religious barriers prohibiting women from receiving care from male health workers.

The world’s ability to deliver quality health services to the populace lies in the strength of its workforce. Now more than ever, all hands, including women’s, must be on deck to ensure that the emerging challenges in public health, such as antimicrobial resistance, chronic and non-communicable diseases, are combated.

Thanks to the various perspectives offered by the panelists at the World Health Summit, it is believed that the first of many steps towards bridging the gender gap in public health has been taken.




Meet the Team - Iheanyichukwu Uzoma

Meet Iheanyichukwu Uzoma, an associate manager with our Geographic Information Systems (GIS) department.

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He joined eHA as a Technical Project Manager seventeen months ago; currently, Iheanyi supports GIS tracking activities and analyzes polio vaccination coverage data for settlements in Borno and Yobe states. He also supervises operations for the Vaccinator Tracking Systems project .

One of his biggest achievements is the development of a Missed Settlement Tracking and Analysis (MISTA) Tool, which has been instrumental in identifying, naming and planning immunization campaigns for missed and previously unnamed settlements.

On a daily basis, my team and I are able to resolve lingering issues with tracking and addressing missed settlements during Polio campaigns in security-challenged states like Borno and Yobe states. I am glad because I get to add value to my team and make a positive impact. By participating in these activities, I am also being impacted upon.
— Iheanyichuwku Uzoma

Iheanyi is passionate about capacity building and development, not just for himself but for his colleagues. eHealth Africa, he says, has given him the opportunity to share his knowledge and skills with his team and with other staff across the organization. Iheanyi is very well known across eHA for his role in the rollout and adoption of the official project management methodology, Projects in Controlled Environments (PRINCE2), across the organization. His facilitation and coordination efforts contributed to a 93% success rate in the PRINCE2 Certification examinations taken by a number of eHA staff recently.






eLearning - The Journey so far

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At eHealth Africa, one of our strategic objectives is to increase access to high-quality eLearning resources for healthcare workers to achieve proficiency in healthcare delivery, management, and leadership.

In line with this, eHealth Africa collaborated with the Kano State Primary Health Care Management Board (KSPHCMB) and other implementing partners, to deploy its eLearning solution on a pilot scale to health workers in Kano State. The eLearning platform is web and mobile-enabled and can be accessed by participants through their Kano Connect android phones.

Fifty- seven Ward Technical Officers (WTOs) and Health Facility In-charges (HFICs) from facilities across three local government areas of Kano state— Gabasawa, Nassarawa and Fagge LGAs—were selected and trained to utilize the eLearning platform. The aim was to improve the delivery of health services in Kano State by providing health workers with access to texts and audio courses and training modules.

Jibrin Mohammed, a Ward Technical Officer from Nassarawa LGA in Kano State shares his experience with the eLearning modules on routine immunization

After a pilot period of 3 months, the health workers who completed all the modules on the platform were awarded certificates of completion at an award ceremony on November 2, 2018. The ceremony was presided over by the Executive Secretary of Kano State Primary Health Care Management Board (KSPHCMB), Dr. Nasir Mahmoud. During the ceremony, selected participants shared their experiences with the platform and testified that they were better able to provide quality Routine Immunization (RI) services at their respective facilities because of the knowledge they had gained.

Following a successful pilot in Kano State, the RI content currently available on the platform is set to be scaled-up to 18 states in Nigeria, with an estimated number of 3000 health workers per state, to participate. Plans are also underway to expand the curriculum to include content on programs such as Cholera, HIV, Malaria, and Maternal and Child health.




Aether 1.0 and Gather 3.0 software releases are out!

Today eHA and the Aether team reached an important development milestone in their contribution to the ehealth open source community -- the release Aether 1.0 and Gather 3.0.

The belief that timely access to accurate data can save lives drives our commitment to create open source software for the development and sustainability of ehealth solutions. We believe that by facilitating the collection, curation, and exchange of relevant health data, we empower decision makers and improve the effectiveness of public health interventions.

With this in mind, last year we started working on Aether, an ambitious project to create a framework for the development of ehealth solutions. We wanted to build a platform that could facilitate developers' work and ensure that ehealth products were built with the highest standards for interoperability, security, and privacy.

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OPEN SOURCE RELEASE

We started transforming that vision into a concrete product in September 2017, and in July the following year, we celebrated the open source release of both Aether and Gather.

Aether is a reliable and secure development platform that enables organizations to build solutions that curate and exchange live information. Aether utilizes “data contracts” between systems, simplifies the movement of data between applications, and helps developers adhere to best practices for ehealth system design.

Gather is the first solution built on top of the Aether platform. Gather is a data collection and curation tool that securely collects data in the field and shares it everywhere it is needed. Thanks to Aether, Gather can perform data curation activities like data masking for privacy requirements and can easily be integrated with other systems and workflows for management, transformation, and analysis purposes.

We were committed to making these projects open source both as a way to give back to the public health community we have been active in for years and so that feedback could be used to quickly improve the solutions. Since their development and release, Aether and Gather have been used by eHA and our partners in a variety of projects.

DEPLOYMENTS

Understanding malaria awareness and practices among young people in Sierra Leone

In July 2018, we partnered with Restless Development and CUAMM Africa in Sierra Leone to provide data collection infrastructure for a malaria prevention campaign called "Youth-Led Malaria Prevention Messaging Survey".
The campaign aims to help public health authorities understand young people’s knowledge, attitude, and behavior towards malaria prevention and treatment. We use Gather for data collection and Aether to connect to a Kibana Dashboard for data analysis visualization. So far, 2,417 survey responses have been submitted.

Building a global high-quality humanitarian health facility database

In July 2018, we were awarded funding for a collaborative global health site mapping project with Healthsites.io. The objective of the initiative is to create a high-quality database that includes information on facility locations, medical staff, and services, which can be used to improve humanitarian crisis response. Data collectors will use Gather in the field to capture health facility data, which will then be connected and shared via Aether to Healthsite.io, Open Street Map, and Humanitarian Data Exchange.

Collecting geodata to gain insight into Nigeria and DRC Health and Demographics

In August 2018 we started implementing Aether and Gather in Kaduna State as part of the the GRID3 project, a multi-country initiative to support underserved communities by collecting and analyzing on points of interest such as settlements, roads, and hospitals. The geodata collected through Gather is automatically published via Aether to a publicly available, customized CKAN instance. As of October 12, 2018, 513,084 points of interest have been submitted through Gather.
Since August, eHA’s involvement in the GRID3 project has expanded into multiple states in Nigeria and to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). For its use in the DRC, we customized Gather in partnership with UCLA, CIESIN, Oak Ridge and Flowminder. The GatherDRC mobile app was built specifically for microcensus and other mapping tasks.

THE RELEASE AND NEXT STEPS

You can now download Aether 1.0 and Gather 3.0 and start using the software yourself.

Though this is an important milestone in our development process, it is only the beginning of a much longer journey. Currently, we are working toward the development of new features that will allow multi-tenancy, data validation rules, and workflows. In addition, connectors for other ehealth applications will be added, including:

BPMN: Integrate with Workflow processes and tools like Camunda

Zapier: Participate in data exchange with 100’s of existing Apps

DHIS2: Bi-Directional data exchange with DHIS2 API

FHIR: Bi-Directional data exchange via FHIR standard

We look forward to hearing your feedback on our products and hearing from interested organizations and potential partner that are interested in using Aether and Gather for the global good.

Get in touch with us at solutions@ehealthafrica.org

World Development Information Day

The United Nations established World Development Information Day—October 24—to draw global attention to development problems and the need to disseminate information which can stimulate cooperation and partnership.

As the world attempts to attain the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, the necessity for accurate information and data becomes even more vital. In the face of insufficient resources and competing priorities, governments require data to make decisions about what challenges, interventions, and programs to invest in.

At eHealth Africa, we use the virtuous cycle approach to guide the implementation of all our projects. We believe that collecting, analyzing, and presenting accurate data provides us and our partners with insight to execute our projects. Many of our projects and solutions such as the Geo- Referenced Infrastructure and Demographic Data for Development (GRID3) and LoMIS Suite aim to provide governments and other decision-makers with up-to-date, accurate information that can help them make the best decisions for various populations. We also develop tools and technologies that make the process of data collection and analysis even more efficient.

 Geospatial map generated from data collected on the field

Geospatial map generated from data collected on the field

Here are a few examples of how eHA is providing real-time data to aid development through our projects.

  • LoMIS Stock is a component of LoMIS Suite, a solution developed to address vaccine inventory challenges. Health workers at the facility level can enter data on a daily basis and submit weekly reports about vaccine stock levels and the status of cold chain equipment through the mobile application. Supervisors can access this data through the LoMIS Stock dashboard and address issues such as low vaccine stock levels and cold chain equipment faults,  at the health facility promptly. Thanks to this real-time data, vaccine stock-outs can be prevented.

 Data gathering in the field

Data gathering in the field

  • Through the Geo-Referenced Infrastructure and Demographic Data for Development (GRID3), eHealth Africa has collected geospatial data for over 500,000 points of interests including schools, farms, water points, health centers etc. across 25 states and the Federal Capital Territory. Using this data, decision makers in various sectors can plan programs and interventions to effectively address key population groups. Currently, the GRID3 team is conducting a data and technology transfer to the Kaduna State Bureau of Statistics (KDBS) to ensure that the state government and relevant ministries, departments and agencies are able to analyze and utilize this data for development.

  • Earlier this year, eHA launched Aether, a reliable and secure development platform that enables organizations to build solutions that curate and exchange live information. Aether was developed to address the recurring challenges we faced when building tailored solutions for individual projects. There was a clear opportunity to solve these challenges with a unique application that made large-scale data collection and curation easier so that informed decisions could be reached faster. Aether facilitates interoperability and addresses the issue of data security and privacy and is available as open source and is freely available to everyone.

At eHealth Africa, we believe in the power of data to transform lives and stimulate development. This World Development Information Day, we are more committed than ever to support our partners and stakeholders by developing tools and technologies that can improve access to accurate data.


Meet the Team - Adam Butler

Meet Adam Butler, the Technical Team Lead in the Germany office, and the voice of eHA’s Aether and eIDSR videos!

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Adam joined eHA in May 2015 as a software developer before switching to a project management role and then Technical Team Lead in the Germany office, where he manages the Berlin-based developers, designer, and project manager. His role also includes technical project management, currently on Aether, Aya, Gather, and Gather DRC, a microcensus project in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

I think anyone who works at eHA has a lot to be proud of. On a high level, I’m proud to have been able to make a small contribution to the (hopefully) imminent eradication of Polio. More specifically, I’m very happy with how we’ve managed to take the Gather application and expand it into the Aether platform; I think that Aether will revolutionize the way that solutions are developed here at eHA. I’m also very curious to see how it will be used by the wider open source community.
— Adam Butler

When he is not voice acting—stay tuned to hear him in upcoming Gather and Laboratory Services videos—Adam helps decide what eHA should build and how to go about building it. Throughout these processes, he supports the development team by providing them with the tools and information they need to produce the best work they can.

In his leadership role, one of the biggest challenges Adam has faced has been resisting the temptation to dive into code himself to start trying to fix a problem. Instead, as a manager, he focuses on clearing the way for a developer on his team who really knows what they’re doing to solve the issue.

Click here to learn more about joining our team.



"Connecting the Dots - Geodata in Healthcare"- The eHA Meetup in Berlin

By Benedetta Ludovisi

Geographic data and accurate maps are essential for improving public health outcomes. Up-to-date information on where people live, the best way to reach them, and the location of nearby medical facilities is fundamental to enhancing healthcare systems. When settlements and points of interest are surveyed and mapped, frontline healthcare workers and medical supplies can reach even the most remote communities. The proliferation of geographic information systems (GIS) technology and spatially enabled data collection tools have helped governments and NGOs connect the dots in public health and improve effectiveness of health interventions.

 Connecting the dots - Geodata in Healthcare” audience ready for the Q&A  session

Connecting the dots - Geodata in Healthcare” audience ready for the Q&A  session

  Johanna Roegele, the Managing Director of eHA German office, welcomes attendees and introduces the speakers for the evening

Johanna Roegele, the Managing Director of eHA German office, welcomes attendees and introduces the speakers for the evening

In order to take a closer look at this topic, our Germany-based office partnered with Viderum to host "Connecting the dots - Geodata in Healthcare" on September 19 at the co.up coworking space in Berlin, the second in a series of technology and global health meetups in Germany.

Johanna Roegele (Managing Director, Germany Office, eHealth Africa) welcomed attendees and introduced eHA’s and Viderum's speakers for the evening. She also shared her vision for these meetups—a forum to share the work eHA does with Berlin’s tech and global health communities, and to create opportunities for innovative organizations to partner and learn from each other.

 Sebastian Moleski, Viderum's CEO, introduces their mission to the audience

Sebastian Moleski, Viderum's CEO, introduces their mission to the audience

The second speaker was Sebastian Moleski (CEO, Viderum) who introduced Viderum as an expert in Open Data working with high-profile partners in the field of data and health. He explained that their mission is to make the world's public data discoverable and accessible to everyone by providing data management solutions and tools that not only allow the strategic use of data, but also play a crucial role in analyzing, tracking and predicting public health trends.

Dave Henry, eHA’s Director of Global Health Informatics, gave a presentation on eHA's use of GIS technology for the VTS project, aimed at polio eradication, a disease for which immunization requires at least three vaccine doses within a child’s first year of life. GIS technology has enabled vaccination campaigns to locate, reach, and vaccinate children in hard-to-find settlements.

 Adam Butler, eHA Technical team lead in Berlin, gives a demonstration of eHA's data collection tool Gather

Adam Butler, eHA Technical team lead in Berlin, gives a demonstration of eHA's data collection tool Gather

After Dave’s overview of the effort to eradicate polio, its challenges, and the role of GIS technology in the initiative, Adam Butler (Technical Team Manager, Germany office, eHealth Africa) and Marko Bocevski (CTO, Viderum) got ready to demonstrate how geodata can be collected, shared and visualized using eHA’s and Viderum's tools.

Adam demonstrated eHA’s latest data collection tool Gather, built for secure, real-time, spatially-enabled data collection and map-plotting, to show how GPS-enabled devices can easily capture coordinates of health facilities, settlements, and roads.

 Marko Bocevski, Viderum's CTO, shows the functionalities of Viderum's visualization tool for CKAN

Marko Bocevski, Viderum's CTO, shows the functionalities of Viderum's visualization tool for CKAN

Following Adam’s demo, Marko demonstrated the technology Viderum developed to enable the visualization and analysis of collected data. The tool, which can be connected to Gather, facilitates data-driven decision making, project planning, and implementation.  

Following the demos, we had time to engage with the audience and answer few of their questions that animated discussions around topics related to data privacy and local community engagement.

We would like to extend a special thanks to the speakers and audience members whose participation and collaboration were essential for the success of the event.




International Translation Day Spotlight: AVADAR

By Adaeze Obiako

If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.
— Nelson Mandela

This year, the United Nations is celebrating “International Translation Day” for the first time. The celebration is an opportunity to pay tribute to language professionals, whose work plays an important role in bringing nations together, facilitating dialogue, fostering understanding and cooperation, and contributing to the development and strengthening of world peace and security.

For eHealth Africa (eHA), translation has been instrumental to the success of several projects, particularly the Auto-Visual AFP Detection and Reporting (AVADAR) project.

When AVADAR commenced in 2016, we knew it was a worthwhile intervention towards the eradication of polio in Nigeria; however, we could not have anticipated just how much of a positive impact it would end up having on the Acute Flaccid Paralysis (AFP) surveillance system across Africa. Between 2016 and 2018, AVADAR grew from a small pilot in two states in Nigeria to a full-fledged project across 8 West and Central African nations. Several factors contributed to the success and scale of the project, one of which was the educational AFP video embedded in the AVADAR mobile app used to train community informants on proper detection (and subsequent reporting to health authorities) of AFP cases within their communities.

This is where language came in.

The project management team, made up of the World Health Organization (WHO), country Ministries of Health, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Novel-T, and eHA, knew early on that the key to ensuring accurate AFP detection and proper use of the AVADAR app for case reporting lay with developing a sense of connectedness and trust between all stakeholders (from project implementers to health workers to community informants) through the breakdown of language barriers.

Part of the pre-implementation phase in each country included research into what languages were spoken by indigenes using the AVADAR app and the AFP video, and the entire app was translated into each applicable language. Below is an example of the AFP video translated into Hausa, a local language commonly spoken in northern Nigeria, Niger, Chad, Cameroon and the Central African Republic.

In addition to the AFP video and app being translated into multiple languages, the training facilitators (who train informants on how to use the app) and field officers (who provide weekly phone troubleshooting support to informants) were all indigenes of the implementing regions and fluent in the local languages to ensure ease of communication and understanding for the AVADAR informants.

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As AVADAR continues operation across Africa, it is clear that we have the power of translation to thank for bridging the gap and allowing thousands of community members and health workers across different African nations to support the fight against polio. At this rate, it won't be too long before polio, like smallpox, is considered a public health issue of the "past".






Meet the Team - Adanna Alex

Meet Adanna Alex, Senior Coordinator with our Geographic Information Systems (GIS) team at our Kano Campus in Nigeria. She manages the Nigeria master geodatabase by ensuring that all updates and new data such as boundaries, settlement features, hamlets and other points of interest are integrated into the database and that all the microplan settlements in our database are validated.

This is very key for projects like the Vaccinator Tracking System, Polio Immunization Plus Days (IPD) tracking and the Geo-Referenced Infrastructure and Demographic Data for Development (GRID3) which rely heavily on geospatial data for their implementation.

Adanna has been with eHealth Africa for almost five years and has focused on building on her skills and knowledge everyday and helping to develop others. She trained the pilot team to manage the integration of Borno State data into the master geodatabase. In addition, she is currently responsible for supervising all interns with the GIS department.

Describing her work experience with eHA as fulfilling, Ada believes in doing every little task  diligently because it amounts to something big.

I joined eHA as a GIS analyst, editing and moving boundary points. Now, I manage the core geodatabase and support the VTS project by ensuring that the dashboard is up to date. I have grown over the years because eHealth Africa encourages personal development. In all this, I am most proud of my contribution to the eradication of the Poliovirus in Nigeria

Are you inspired by Adanna’s story? Click here to join our team!




eHealth Africa supports cholera Simulation as part of its Emergency Preparedness

By Umu McCarthy and Sahr Ngaujah

Sierra Leone is known for persistent heavy rains that sometimes lead to public health emergencies including the August 2017 mudslides and cholera outbreaks. As of June 2012, a total of 25,000 people were affected by cholera in Sierra Leone & Guinea, with 399 deaths in Sierra Leone. It was the country's largest outbreak of cholera since the disease was first reported in 1970 and the deadliest since the 1994–1995 cholera outbreak. This has been the largest outbreak in the West Africa region.

eHealth Africa (eHA) partnered with U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Sierra Leone’s Ministry of Health and Sanitation and the World Health Organization (WHO), in a Cholera Simulation Exercise conducted in the Kambia District, in Northern Sierra Leone. A total of 36 healthcare workers and Health Management Teams  across the country, represented their various Districts in the simulation exercise. The key objectives of the simulation exercise were to:

  • promote awareness of cholera to emergency response staff

  • assess the effectiveness of the surveillance, laboratory and logistics capabilities of the selected districts to respond during outbreaks

  • discuss the roles and responsibilities of Public Health National Emergency Operations Center (PHNEOC) personnel during a potential outbreak activation in accordance with the district and national plans

  • test existing communication and coordination structures  implementation of emergency preparedness and response operations

Usually during the rainy season there is an increase in the trend of diarrhea cases. This puts the country on red alert to heighten its surveillance and preparedness plans. This simulation exercise was a deliberate and proactive step to addressing cholera crisis, should they come up
— Alusine Kamara

Alusine Kamara, the Public Health Operations Coordinator at the Sierra Leone National Emergency Operations Center, was key facilitator of the simulation exercise alongside  Dr. Claudette Amuzu, National Professional Officer, Emergency Preparedness Response, WHO.

CDC is funding eHA’s Emergency Management and Preparedness Project in Sierra Leone. The goal of this project is to enhance the capacity of the Ministry of Health and Sanitation’s ability to prepare, prevent and adequately respond to current and future outbreak of diseases including Ebola Virus Disease.

eHA’s role is to build the capacity of Ministry of Health and Sanitation personnel on key emergency management concepts in line with the Global Health Security Agenda. Scenarios, plenary sessions and presentations were used to test participants’ knowledge on cholera response. After the exercise, participants now have knowledge on how to control the spread of cholera during an outbreak.

Emergency Operation is new to Sierra Leone’s Ministry of Health and Sanitation. Ebola crisis was our very first experience and we are still using the lessons learnt to inform future emergencies . The simulation exercise could not have come at a better time. Partners were able to identify relevant players at the District levels. This makes it easier for response teams during an emergency. If there is a cholera emergency now, I am better placed to mobilize both human and logistical resources to respond to it.
— Sahr Gbandeh, Emergency Operations Center Focal Person for Western Area Urban

The simulation exercise, if properly implemented, goes to also benefit thousands of Sierra Leoneans during an outbreak of cholera.






Celebrating the International Day of Charity

The UN International Day of Charity is celebrated every September 5, and this year is focused on the Sustainable Development Goals. While the projects that eHA implements provide data-driven approaches towards the goals of “Good Health & Well-Being” and “Zero Hunger”, we also recognize the central role of volunteering and philanthropy in creating global change.

This is a belief shared and supported by eHA and demonstrated by a team that frequently engages in various charitable outreach projects to support the communities that we live and work in.

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This year on the International Day of Charity, we would like to thank those who have contributed to our civic engagement and corporate social responsibility projects, including eHA staff and community members that participated in our donation drives. Your generous volunteering of time, as well as your donations of clothing and food items were vital to our charity projects at a retirement home in Freetown, Sierra Leone and a children’s home in Kano, Nigeria.

We also want to thank the almost 50 members of eHA staff, including our Executive Director Evelyn Castle, who participated in the blood drive organized at at our Kano campus on World Blood Donor day.

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At eHealth Africa, we are passionate about impacting lives and investing in the places that we call home. This International Day of Charity, we encourage everyone to do the same.