Expanding Cornbot to fight food insecurity

Chinedu Anarodo and Cornelius Adewale at the award ceremony

Chinedu Anarodo and Cornelius Adewale at the award ceremony

Last year, eHealth Africa’s CornBot Application was one of the finalists for the Fall Army Worm Tech Prize. The application received the Frontier Innovation Award for its ease of use and human-centric design. CornBot also received $50,000 in prize money. Six months later, CornBot’s, Chinedu Anarado and Cornelius Adewale share their progress and how they are using the prize money to expand CornBot so that the solution addresses more challenges in nutrition and food security.

Why did you develop CornBot?

One of eHA’s focus areas is Nutrition and Food Security Systems. Our goal with this program is to provide nutrition stakeholders at all levels of the value chain, with technological tools and data so that vulnerable populations in West Africa can have access to nutritious food.

When USAID called for innovations to address Fall Armyworm (FAW), a major pest that destroys various crops worth $2.4bn – $6bn annually, predisposing communities to food insecurity, we knew we had to respond. We partnered with the Washington State University (WSU) to design and build CornBot, a mobile application, that interacts with farmers in their local dialect and guides them through the process of detecting, preventing and treating FAW infestation on their farms. The application is synced to a dashboard to enable us and other stakeholders to easily aggregate data on FAW infestation and make informed decisions.

What scenario mapped the transition from CornBot to FMT?

After we received the Frontier Innovation Award and the prize money, we started thinking about what we could do to expand CornBot. During the field testing phase as well as during other field research carried out by WSU, we realized that smallholder farmers needed more than just a pest detection tool—they needed a platform where they could exchange and receive guidance and knowledge to increase their productivity. We then decided to invest the prize money in building a platform where farmers can gain additional information to enable them to yield as much as possible from their farms, in line with the Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) put forward by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). So, CornBot went from an idea that helps in combating farm pests, to a platform for providing guidance on farming practices as a whole. For now, we call it the Farm Management Tool.

What do you hope to accomplish with the Farm Management Tool?

Farmers in Kano using Cornbot to identify FallArmy Worm

Farmers in Kano using Cornbot to identify FallArmy Worm

Overall, we want to improve the quality of livelihood among smallholder farmers and strengthen the resilience of communities against food insecurity. We know that by making small changes in their farming processes and decisions, and by adopting good agricultural practices, farmers can increase the crop yield from the same plot of land. They just do not know how to. Many of these farmers have been doing things the same way for years without ever knowing why. Our goal is to arm them with relevant information and ensure that they can produce more crops. If we can achieve this, it will be a huge success and it means that our solution is viable.  

What first steps have you taken?

We are currently working to build a mobile application. However, we held a workshop with 40 smallholder farmers in April to glean baseline data about their current agricultural practices, their level of knowledge, and current challenges, and to introduce them to our project and the concept of good agricultural practices. They have agreed to work with us for the pilot scheme and testing, as well as map out portions of their farmlands to test our concepts. We have also commenced field operations such as soil sample testing to understand the existing soil composition and what kinds of fertilizers will be needed.

The idea is to “hand-hold” the farmers throughout the planting season and see if there are significant differences from their previous outputs.

We are very excited about this platform and the possibilities that it presents for addressing food insecurity in communities across West Africa.



Meet the Team - Mohamed Sulaiman Kamara

Meet Mohamed Sulaiman Kamara, a die-hard Arsenal fan and the Chief Accountant in our Sierra Leone office!

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Mohamed joined eHealth Africa (eHA) as a Project Accountant in 2017 and was promoted to this current position after consistent hard work and excellent performance. Mohamed has always worked closely with his team to ensure that they are working towards their team goals and the organization’s overall goals.

Mohamed’s role is a challenging but exciting one, he and his team primarily support all projects by ensuring their accounting and finance processes and procedures are in line with best practices. He ensures the books are closed on a monthly basis in compliance with regulatory standards and makes sure that all the i’s are dotted and t’s crossed for audits. Mohammed also guides and mentors the project accountants, he provides technical support to them when needed and ensures his team remains high performing.

For him, the most rewarding part of his job is the challenges. These challenges help him think critically and innovatively to come up with solutions. Mohammed also enjoys working with diverse teams that include partners and stakeholders, they ensure that no two days are the same at eHA.

In addition to his love and passion for Accounting and Arsenal, Mohammed loves reading motivational books and listening to business news.

Our Iftar Celebration

eHealth Africa is a team of people from diverse cultures, educational backgrounds, and experiences, united by the desire to build stronger health systems across Africa.

One of our values at eHealth Africa is ownership—we work hard to become embedded in the fabric of the communities which we work in and we invest our time, ideas and resources to ensure that the quality of life in those communities is improved.

This week, our staff in Kano and Abuja hosted an Iftar celebration for members of neighboring communities. Iftar breaks the daylong fast that Muslims must observe during the month of Ramadan. eHA staff came together to distribute food packs and clothes to over 500 people in Kano and 200 people in Abuja. Our aim was to give back to the communities that we live and work in.

Here are pictures from the event in Kano. Ramadan Kareem!

My Internship at eHealth Africa Helped me Find my Path

My name is Juliana Jacob and I am a Helpdesk associate with the IT Engineering and Operations team.  I studied Mass Communication at Kogi State University and I am currently studying to earn my Masters in Public Relations at Bayero University, Kano. Up until January 2018 when I became an intern with the Helpdesk/ Network Operating Center at eHealth Africa, all I could think about was pursuing a career that would put me in the limelight and make me a household name.

Everything changed during my National Youth Service year in 2016. I worked at the Nassarawa Broadcasting Service (NBS) as a Radio/TV presenter but I had the opportunity to participate in a project as a data collector/ enumerator. I visited settlements in very remote and hard-to-reach locations and saw first-hand the deplorable state of health care in those communities. Many health facilities were dilapidated and had no vaccines or medicines. I decided there and then that I had to play my own part to improve healthcare for the people in such communities.

Someone told me about an eHealth Africa internship placement. I was immediately interested because eHA was a NGO and I knew it would give me the opportunity to touch lives in some way. I am not sure what I expected but when I found out that I would be placed with the Helpdesk/ Network Operating Center, I was worried. I didn’t see any similarities between my background in Mass Communications or my prior experience as an on-air person and working in Information Technology (IT). I had very little knowledge about IT or what it entailed, prior to this internship. My only experience with IT was a course that I took as an undergraduate student.

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My time as an intern was the most challenging experience of my adult life but it was also the most enlightening. The Helpdesk is perhaps the busiest unit in the entire organization because it supports the delivery of all the projects in some capacity. We make sure that every team member has all the digital tools that they need to deliver their results. The helpdesk also functions as a customer call center and provides support, information, and solutions to eHA staff and partners. Working at the helpdesk helped me to internalize and exhibit the eHA values especially innovative problem-solving. In no time, I found that I had gained valuable skills such as interpersonal communications, and time and task management.

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I have become familiar with IT terms and concepts—that I never thought I would encounter. I have fallen in love with IT and what is so amazing that I did not have an IT or tech background. Everything I know about IT and network operations, I learned from my team at eHealth Africa. Not only were they patient with me, but they also recommended several courses and seminars for my own personal development.

At first, I didn’t think that I could really be of any help to the communities with poor healthcare if I was not on the field or if I was not in the medical profession but my internship with the Helpdesk proved to me that everyone can do something to improve the quality of healthcare for vulnerable populations or communities. At eHealth Africa, everyone brings their strengths to the table and contributes their quota to achieve our mission and vision. We have staff who are not medical doctors or nurses but contribute to the improvement of health service delivery through their expertise in software development, logistics, construction or communications.

In February 2018, I became a full-time staff at eHA. One of the things I love most about eHealth Africa is that it focuses on applied knowledge rather than theoretical knowledge. To a large extent, what matters is getting the job done and not what you studied in school. This is why an intern with a Mass Communications background can become a full-time staff in one of the most technical fields in the organization.

My internship experience helped me to discover what I truly want to do career-wise. Even though my masters is in Public Relations, I have decided to pursue a career in IT. I am currently taking several online courses to attain some certifications in Information and Communications Technology (ICT). There are so many intersections between PR and ICT and I cannot wait to explore them.

I am truly grateful to my team and to eHA for this opportunity. If you are looking for an organization with bright, progressive people who are passionate about transforming health systems in Africa, eHA is definitely the place for you.

Meet the Team - Gift Ogbaje

Meet Gift Ogbaje, our “Director of First Impressions”. She is a security associate/ receptionist with the Operations unit at our Kano office in Nigeria.

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She joined eHealth Africa 2 years ago. Gift’s primary responsibility is visitor management and she is the first person that our visitors meet when they walk through our doors. Gift takes this responsibility very seriously and has made a conscious effort to improve her interpersonal skills so that guests can feel welcome.

At eHA, our strongest asset is our people. Gift embodies our values here at eHA and has shown a remarkable aptitude for innovative problem solving by creating unique and workable solutions to problems within her team. One of her major successes was her simple solution to the traffic during on-site events with external participants. In place of the cumbersome process of generating and printing individual visitors tags, Gift created tags for the training which she could print ahead of time; as well as a register where each participant could enter their details. Her solution reduced the traffic by over 85% and made work much faster.

At eHealth Africa, I am able to utilize my strengths such as accuracy and attention to detail, optimally. I collect and handle invoices from vendors, which I forward to the finance team for payments. My attention to detail aided by proper documentation has helped to reduce errors and delays in processing payments. I have also gained new skills in time management and multitasking which enable me to perform multiple tasks efficiently, without getting flustered.
— Gift Ogbaje
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We are proud to have Gift as part of our team, if you’re ever visiting our office in Kano, be sure to say a warm hello.

Much Ado about Monitoring & Evaluation?

By Emerald Awa- Agwu and Olayinka Orefunwa

Case Study

Thomas* has just received some feedback from donors to suggest that his organization may need to refund some of the funding it received. The donors feel that there is insufficient evidence to demonstrate that the project achieved its outcomes and overall objectives.

Thomas managed a three-year nutrition project, which aimed to combat malnutrition in children under the age of 5 by training local women and caregivers to produce nutritious meals for children from 6 months to 5 years using indigenous, locally available foods. He and his team conducted several activities including producing recipe manuals, organizing food demonstration classes, developing communication materials, and educating women on nutrition and hygiene issues.

Thomas believed that the project had achieved great results. Malnutrition rates had dropped and mothers in the community had a better knowledge of how to create nutritious, balanced meals with local foods in order to support the optimal growth and development of their children. He simply could not understand why the donors could not understand this. After a lot of back-and-forth conversations, the donors asked to see the Monitoring & Evaluation Framework for the project. Thomas and his team had never created one.

What is Monitoring & Evaluation?

Over the last decade, monitoring and evaluation (M&E) processes have become an important source of knowledge management and organizational learning in the development sector. Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) are processes that help project managers like Thomas as well as donors and relevant partners to assess the performance of a project or organization. Monitoring is a systematic, continuous and long-term process of gathering information about a project’s progress towards its set objectives. Evaluation helps to determine if the project has, in fact, achieved its goals and delivered the expected outputs as planned.

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Why is Monitoring & Evaluation Important?

As we saw from the case study, neglecting M &E can have dire consequences. It is important to factor it in from the inception of the project. Best practices in programming and project management suggest that an equivalent of 5% - 15% of the overall project budget should be allocated to M &E.  Here are a few reasons why organizations and project managers should have a strong M & E framework in place.

1. M & E is relevant for donors to assess the quality of project implementation. In the development sector, an M &E framework is required by donors for them to gauge how reliable an organization is as a partner, before considering them for future collaborations and opportunities.

2. Together, M&E help to keep track of how efficiently projects are implemented (with regards to using resources and inputs) or how effective the programs are. This is extremely valuable for project managers like Thomas because it helps them ensure that donor funds are being used judiciously to get the best value for money.

3. M&E is also important for identifying challenges and gaps so that changes can be made as needed.

4. It allows teams to learn from each other’s experiences, and to build on expertise and knowledge.

At eHealth Africa, M & E is led by our Monitoring, Evaluation, and Research (MER) team and is built into projects from the inception to close out. The MER team supports project managers across the organization to develop solid M & E frameworks that guide project delivery according to laid down standard operating procedures. Apart from their internal quality assurance functions within projects, our MER team supports eHA’s efforts to contribute to public health research.

The team provides research services to organizations including universities and implementing partners to conduct qualitative and quantitative studies on a wide range of areas.  In addition, eHA’s MER team provides third-party monitoring services for humanitarian organizations so that they can have a true picture of the quality and impact of their interventions. Recently, our MER team provided technical leadership in a baseline data survey for the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI). The survey aimed to gather data relating to perceptions and practices relating to sexual and reproductive health among males and females of reproductive age in Kaduna, Katsina and Kano states.  Over the course of three years, CHAI will support the state governments of Kaduna, Kano, and Katsina to increase contraceptive prevalence rates and utilization of reproductive health services, which should lead to reduced rates of unintended pregnancies and unsafe abortions. The increased use of family planning, in addition to sustained gains in the provision of quality emergency obstetric services, should lead to a further reduction in the number of maternal deaths in the same time period.

To effectively achieve this goal, a clear understanding of current levels of knowledge on reproductive health was required. First, as a baseline against which program outcomes can be measured at the end of the project, but more importantly, as a basis for which strategies for program intervention can be designed and delivered. eHealth Africa trained the data collectors to use Android-based digital applications such as ODK to collect data across 70 LGAs and supervised the data collection process.

eHealth Africa staff including MER lead, Yinka Orefunwa visit Soba LGA in Kaduna State to conduct data quality assessments for the CHAI survey

eHealth Africa staff including MER lead, Yinka Orefunwa visit Soba LGA in Kaduna State to conduct data quality assessments for the CHAI survey

Overall, to avoid scenarios like the one in our case study, organizations need to recognize Monitoring and Evaluation as a necessary component to ensure the quality of their project execution and the accuracy of their outcomes. M&E ensures visibility and accountability as donors, implementing partners and relevant stakeholders will have adequate information about successes, challenges and even changes made in the course of the project.

Meet The Team - Abdulai Dumbuya

Meet Abdulai Dumbuya, Senior Network Administrator,  in our Sierra Leone office.

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Abdulai has been part of the eHealth Africa (eHA) team for approximately 4 years. He is a team lead and go-to person for issues relating to networking, troubleshooting,  systems backups, the configuration of network application systems, maintenance and administration of Wide Area Network (WAN) technologies and the execution of network disaster recovery plan.

He also the deputy to the ICT Manager and performs administrative duties for the ICT team, including assisting with the preparation of annual ICT budget and procurement for the department.

eHA’s approach to serving underserved communities in Africa is one of my motivations for working with the organization.
— Abdulai Dumbuya

One of Abdulai’s biggest contributions to eHA is reducing the operational cost of the 117 Call Center by over 50%. He achieved this by moving the 117 call center ICT infrastructure from an external provider to the Emergency Operations Center  (EOC), under the Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MoHS).

We are glad to have Abdulai on our team!

Strengthening Routine Immunization using Lessons learned from Polio Emergency Support

By Joshua Ozugbakun & Emerald Awa-Agwu

In July 2016, after over two years of being polio-free, two wild poliovirus cases were discovered in Borno State, Nigeria. This launched fresh efforts to strengthen the four pillars of polio eradication including Routine Immunization (RI), Supplementary immunization activities (SIAs) (including national Immunization Plus Days (IPDs)), Surveillance and targeted mop-up campaigns.

A health worker vaccinates a child with the Oral Polio Vaccine

A health worker vaccinates a child with the Oral Polio Vaccine

Partners, both local and international, collaborated with the Nigerian government at state and national level, through various interventions and projects to increase the coverage and effectiveness of IPDs and mop-up campaigns in order to increase herd immunity and stop polio transmission, especially in high-risk states like Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states. These interventions were coordinated by the State Emergency Routine Immunization Coordination Centers (SERICCs). Each SERICC is led by individual state governments and help to improve information sharing, joint programming of public health emergency management activities (planning, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation) with partners. The National Emergency Routine Immunization Coordination Center (NERICC) is responsible for strategy development and oversees the activities of all the SERICCs. With this coordination mechanism in place, the menace of polio is being tackled collaboratively and Nigeria is well underway to being declared ‘Polio Free’, a major milestone in its vaccine-preventable disease management efforts.
A major takeaway for Nigerian polio eradication stakeholders after years of battling polio is the need for data collection, management and storage systems to be upgraded. As the need to halt poliovirus transmission increased, it became increasingly obvious that paper-based data management systems were incapable of providing decision makers with the reliable, actionable data which they needed for effective programming. eHealth Africa responded to this challenge by supporting states across Nigeria to develop comprehensive, digital maps using our expertise in Geographic Information Systems (GIS). The accuracy of these maps improves the microplanning process and guarantees a greater coverage of settlements during campaigns.

Our GIS technology has improved the quality of maps used for polio campaign planning

Our GIS technology has improved the quality of maps used for polio campaign planning

In addition, through our Vaccinator Tracking Systems (VTS) project, GIS-encoded Android phones are used to record and store passive tracks of vaccinators as they conduct their house-to-house visits; allowing decision-makers to have an accurate picture of the settlements that have been covered during IPDS and mop-up campaigns. This data can easily be accessed through dashboards for a more detailed analysis and breakdown of coverage information.


Supporting polio emergency response activities also highlighted the need for the Nigerian health system to move from an emphasis on SIAs and campaigns to strengthening the RI and disease surveillance systems. Sound routine immunization and disease surveillance systems are necessary to sustain the herd immunity built through polio campaigns.

In Kano state, the LoMIS Stock solution helps the State Primary Health Care Management Board to ensure that the vaccine supply chain is maintained. Health workers at the facility level use the LoMIS Stock application to send reports on a variety of vaccine stock indicators including vaccine utilization, vaccine potency, stock levels, wastage rates, and cold chain equipment status. Supervisors access the reports through the LoMIS Stock dashboard and are able to respond appropriately. This ensures that the RI system is maintained and that health facilities are never out of stock.

In the past, Acute Flaccid Paralysis (AFP) surveillance in health systems across Africa was passive. This meant that disease surveillance and notification officers (DSNOs) only reported or investigated suspected AFP cases that were presented at the health facility. According to the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)1, over 72% of polio cases are asymptomatic and as such, will not present at the health facility. In addition, DSNOs are unable to visit every single community to actively search for AFP cases due to logistics and security challenges. Relying on data from passive AFP surveillance causes programs to be designed based on data that excludes the asymptomatic polio cases. Auto-Visual AFP Detection and Reporting (AVADAR) reduces the burden on the DSNOs by enlisting members of the community to actively find AFP cases and report using a mobile application on a weekly basis; thus, providing accurate real-time surveillance data that can be used for program planning and implementation.

An often overlooked factor that promoted the transmission of the poliovirus was the rejection of the polio vaccine by mothers and households due to various myths and socio-cultural barriers. By engaging traditional and religious leaders as ambassadors of vaccination, more mothers and households are accepting the polio virus.

The central lesson in Nigeria’s journey so far towards polio eradication is the importance of collaboration and engagement at all levels including communities. eHealth Africa is proud to be supporting governments and health systems across Africa to respond to the polio emergency.

My Top 5 reasons why eHA is the best place to be an intern

By Samura Bangura

Procurement Intern at eHealth Africa (eHA) Sierra Leone  in the Operations department

Procurement Intern at eHealth Africa (eHA) Sierra Leone in the Operations department

I am Samura Bangura, a Financial Services graduate from the Institute of Public Administration and Management (IPAM), University of Sierra Leone.  I am currently completing a diploma course in Supply Chain Management. I joined the eHA team in January 2019. eHealth Africa is a go-to place for a wonderful internship experience. I will tell you why:

1. At eHealth Africa, I am gaining the requisite skills and experience to begin my career

I joined eHA, believing the opportunity would help me reach my career goals and sharpen my skill set. I do not regret joining the team. I have always wanted to serve in an organization that would give me the experience I need to begin my career. At eHA, I am able to put into practice what I had learned during my four years at the University and learn new skills.

2. eHealth Africa is a technology-driven organization

I remember thinking that the procurement unit had so many tasks and processes that I was not conversant with, and was worried that I wouldn’t be able to master them. One of the first things that struck me about eHA was the use of technology to make working more efficient. Technology aids almost all processes, including the signing of documents. I was like; “wow! this is great’’. There was so much to learn. I learned how to use different apps and platforms for financial management, document storage, and even task management.

3. Opportunity for learning and growth

At eHA, I have learned so much in a short time. Now, I know how to execute a procurement process, from bid evaluation to processing vendor payments. I also learned how to do administrative tasks for the procurement department, including organizing procurement committee meetings! All this, within just a few months of starting my internship with eHA. I love the fact that eHealth Africa provides opportunities for everyone to learn and grow in their career and in any other areas of interest. One of my biggest takeaways from eHA is to deliver every task with utmost diligence. The experiences and knowledge that I have gained will be mine for the rest of my life. I am very grateful to eHA.

4. Staff are welcoming and eager to help

I love working at eHealth Africa! My colleagues ae very welcoming and eager to help. By the third day of my internship, I quickly realized that there was no need to worry because my supervisor is very inspiring, hardworking and patient with me. She trained me  one on one, for a week, so that I would be accustomed to how things are done in the procurement unit. She encouraged me to ask questions and to seek clarification whenever I was unsure of something.
5. Interns are truly part of the team
It’s true, no one treats me differently, even though I am an intern. We are included in all aspects of the organization and our work is just as invaluable as any other team members’. There’s no sense of “real staff” vs. “interns”, we are all one team. For example, the procurement team in Sierra Leone was commended for being the Team of the Quarter, during an employee event on 29th of March 2019, marking the end of the first quarter.

Samura receiving a certificate from Jatin Hiranandani, Deputy Director, Operations

Samura receiving a certificate from Jatin Hiranandani, Deputy Director, Operations

I feel proud to be part of the winning team. Surprisingly, as an intern, I was also given a certificate, even though I wasn’t expecting one. This shows that eHA does not discriminate between regular staff and interns.
— Samura Bangura
Team of the Quarter- Procurement Team

Team of the Quarter- Procurement Team

Are you interested in applying for an internship with eHA? Click here to see the list of open internships and apply now.

Fighting Cholera with the Power of Geospatial Mapping

By Ayodele Adeyemo & Hawa Kombian

The Cholera Threat

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cholera (an infectious disease which causes acute watery diarrhea) remains a global threat to public health with an annual average of 82,000 deaths. In Nigeria, the cholera burden has been an average of 10,000 cases annually with over 70% of the cases coming from Bauchi, Yobe, and Zamfara states.

Following the review and recent publication of WHO guidelines on cholera control, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has begun the implementation of innovative approaches to tackle cholera via:

  • Strengthening disease surveillance for early detection and quick response through innovative use of technology and data.

  • Improving coordination for technical support, resource mobilization, and partnership.

  • Adopting a multi-sectoral approach to meet the 2030 cholera elimination by working with the environment and Water and Sanitary Hygiene sectors to ensure that communities have good water and sanitary facilities which will prevent further outbreaks

The Digital Health Advantage

What does an innovative model for cholera prevention and control look like?

In 1854, John Snow mapped out the cholera deaths during an outbreak and observed that they all occurred within short distances and were clustered around the Broad Street pump. He went ahead to carry out statistical tests to illustrate the connection between the source of water and the cholera cases.

In synergistic partnership, NCDC and eHealth Africa (eHA) used advanced geographic information systems (GIS) technologies to build on John Snow’s ideas of mapping. eHA uses data-driven solutions and tools to improve community health, with specific expertise in the design, development, validation, and deployment of predictive models for diseases like cholera.

GIS allow experts to explore different aspects of a geographical point. The identification of patterns can drive insights and enable health stakeholders to make informed decisions about how to best plan public health interventions. Due to computational and technological advancement, GIS has been used in public health for epidemiology, resource planning, and surveillance among others.  

NCDC and eHA were able to utilize GIS capabilities to enhance the data management within the NCDC National Incident Coordination Centre (ICC). The ICC serves as a the emergency operations center for coordinating disease outbreaks at the national level.


eHA’s GIS and Data Analytics team works with the NCDC to map cholera hotspots (areas where cholera persists) across Nigeria’s Local Government Areas (LGAs). At the start of the outbreak, hotspot analysis helps determine where to vaccinate and what quantity of vaccines are required per LGA. This exercise ensures the effectiveness of the oral cholera vaccine immunization campaigns which are rolled out to stop the spread of disease.

In planning, data from 2012-17 displays the spread of cholera outbreaks and also shows the relative risks of the various LGAs which have reported an outbreak during the five year period.

The Big Picture   Data Source: Nigeria Centre for Disease Control

The Big Picture Data Source: Nigeria Centre for Disease Control

Data Source: Nigeria Centre for Disease Control

Data Source: Nigeria Centre for Disease Control

We layered the 2018 outbreak data with the historical hotspot analysis to identify specific trends and possible overlaps. The result of the hotspot analysis identified 83 LGAs as hotspots, with 87% reporting at least one case with over 70% of the burden from Bauchi, Kano, and Zamfara states. The LGAs identified as hotspots have enabled the government to make informed decisions about where to request vaccines to ensure that the most vulnerable areas are supported.

Data Source: Nigeria Centre for Disease Control

Data Source: Nigeria Centre for Disease Control

We continue to collaborate with the NCDC to strengthen cholera surveillance in Nigeria. The partnership ensures that data management and analysis expertise contribute to faster response and informed decision making before, during and after outbreaks.

This work was done in collaboration with the following partners:

  • Yennan Sebastian- NCDC

  • Adesola Ogunleye - NCDC

  • Heloise Lucaccioni - UNICEF

  • Helen Adamu - UMB

  • Kobi Ampah- WHO Geneva              










How eHealth Africa supports Universal Health Coverage across Africa

By Emerald Awa- Agwu

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April 7 is World Health Day and this year, the World Health Organization (WHO) is focusing on Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

WHO: Universal Health Coverage - What does it mean?

Good health is crucial for developing economies and reducing poverty. Governments and decision-makers need to strengthen health systems so that people can get the healthcare and services that they need to maintain and improve their health, and stay productive.  However, improving access to health services is incomplete if people plunge further into poverty because of the cost of health care. WHO estimates that over 800 million people spend at least 10% of their household budget on health care which is indicative of catastrophic health expenditure (CHE).  CHE can mean that households have to cut down on or forfeit necessities such as food and clothing, education for their children or even sell household goods.

One of the targets of Sustainable Development Goal 3—Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages— is to achieve universal health coverage by 2030. Therefore, achieving UHC has become a major goal for health system reforms in many countries, especially in Africa.

Through our projects and solutions, eHealth Africa supports countries across Africa to strengthen the six pillars of universal health coverage.

1. Health Financing for Universal Health Coverage

WHO recommends that no less than 15% of national budgets should be allocated to health. We believe that accurate and up to date data, can ensure that available health funds are better allocated. In Nigeria,  we worked with several partners to map and collect geospatial data through the Geo-Referenced Infrastructure and Demographic Data for Development (GRID3) program. Data relating to over 22 points of interest categories including health facilities, was collected across 25 states and the Federal Capital Territory in Nigeria. This data helps decision-makers to distribute resources and plan interventions that target the people who need it most.

2. Essential Medicines and Health products

Vaccines are some of the most essential health commodities

Vaccines are some of the most essential health commodities

Countries decide what medicines and health commodities are essential based on the illnesses suffered by the majority or significant sections of their population. They must also ensure that quality, safe and effective medicines, vaccines, diagnostics, and other medical devices are readily available and affordable.

When essential medicines and health products are procured, it is important to maintain proper records and to ensure that health facilities do not run out of stock. eHealth Africa created Logistics Management Information System (LoMIS), a suite of mobile and web applications, LoMIS Stock and LoMIS Deliver that address challenges in the supply of essential medicines and health products such as vaccines and drugs. In Kano State, health workers at the facility level use the LoMIS Stock mobile application to send weekly reports on the vaccine stock levels, essential drug stock levels and the status of cold chain equipment. Supervisors can view the reports in near real-time through the LoMIS Stock Dashboard and plan deliveries of medicines and health products to prevent stockouts of vaccines and essential drugs, using LoMIS Deliver. LoMIS Deliver reduces errors by automating the process of ledger entry to capture the number of vaccines on-hand at the facility and the quantity delivered.

3. Health systems governance

Health system governance according to the WHO is governance undertaken with the aim of protecting and promoting the health of the people. It involves ensuring that a strategic policy framework exists and providing oversight to ensure its implementation. Relevant policies, regulations, and laws must be put in place to ensure accountability across the health system as a whole (public and private health sector actors alike).  Effective health systems governance can only be achieved with the collaboration of stakeholders and partners who will support the government by providing reliable information to inform policy formulation and amendments. Over the years, we have worked with several partners to provide this support.

4. Health workforce

Health systems can only deliver care through the health workforce

Health systems can only deliver care through the health workforce

The attainment of UHC is dependent on the availability, accessibility, acceptability, and quality of health workers1. They must not only be equitably distributed and accessible by the population, but they must also possess the required knowledge and skills to deliver quality health care that marries contextual appropriateness with best practices.

Recognizing this, eHA supports the Kano State Primary Health Care Management Board (KSPHCMB) to improve health service delivery by providing health workers in Kano State with access to texts, audio courses, and training modules through an eLearning solution. Through the eLearning web and mobile-enabled platform, health workers can gain useful skills and knowledge on a wide range of topics. Read about the pilot of the eLearning solution here.

In Sierra Leone, we work with the Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MoHS), U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the African Field Epidemiology Network (AFENET) to implement the Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP). Through FETP, public health workers at the district and national level gain knowledge about important epidemiological principles and are equipped with skills in case/ outbreak investigations, data analysis, and surveillance. This positions Sierra Leone to meet the Global Health Security Agenda target of having 1 epidemiologist per 200,000 population. In addition, we support Sierra Leone’s MoHS to build additional capacity in frontline Community Health Officers (CHOs), who are based at the Chiefdom level through the management and leadership training program. CHOs are often the first point of contact for primary care for the local population and the MLTP program equips them to provide better health services and improve health outcomes at their facilities.

5. Health Statistics and Information Systems

In line with our strategy, we create tools and solutions that help health systems across Africa to curate and exchange data and information for informed decision making and future planning.  The Electronic Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response (eIDSR) solution has been used in Sierra Leone and Liberia to transform data collection, reporting, analysis, and storage for a more efficient response and surveillance of priority diseases. Its integration with DHIS2, a health information system used in over 45 countries, makes it easy for health system decision makers to visualize data and gain insight into the state of public health. Read more about our other solutions Aether and VaxTrac. In addition, we also support the Nigeria Center for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) by creation and maintenance of a data portal which serves as a repository for all datasets that are relevant to detecting, responding and preventing disease outbreaks in Nigeria.

6. Service delivery and safety

Staff at the Kano Lab

Staff at the Kano Lab

The Service delivery and safety pillar encompasses a large spectrum of issues including patient safety and risk management, quality systems and control, Infection prevention and control, and innovations in service delivery. With our experience working to respond to polio and ebola virus emergencies across Africa, we support health systems to mount prevention and control programs at the national and facility level. We are also committed to creating new technologies and solutions that can help health providers to develop better models of healthcare. We also construct health facilities ranging from clinics to laboratory and diagnostic facilities that utilize state of the art technology to correctly diagnose diseases such as Sickle Cell Disease, Meningitis, and Malaria.

Our Sokoto Meningitis Lab has been at the forefront of meningitis testing and surveillance in Northern Nigeria, offering reliable and prompt diagnoses to support the prevention of future outbreaks.

eHealth Africa continues to work with governments, communities and health workers so that everyone can obtain the quality health care, in a prompt manner and from health workers and facilities within their communities, thus achieving universal health coverage.

Meet the Team: Muhammed-Naziru Halliru

Meet Muhammed-Naziru Halliru, a State Coordinator with our program delivery team!

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Naziru is involved in planning, organizing and delivering activities to ensure that the objectives of the Geo-Referenced Infrastructure and Demographic Data for Development (GRID3) project are achieved. Following the mapping of the 36 states of Nigeria, he coordinated stakeholder engagement at the state level to garner government support for the use and application of geospatial data for better economic planning, resource distribution and decision making across a variety of sectors including health, education, agriculture, housing, and transport.

In addition to this, he supports capacity building activities for data managers at the State Ministry of Health, State Primary Health Care Management Board and the Health Management Information System department to equip them to manage, analyze and use the data stored on the GRID3 portal.

Although he has been with eHealth Africa for only a year, Naziru has made very significant contributions to his team and project. Under his supervision, the GRID3 project mapped 10 states across three geopolitical zones: North Central, North East, and North West and collected geospatial data on 19 point of interest categories. This data has been instrumental in improving the impact and effectiveness of polio eradication efforts in these states.

Naziru credits eHA with his new exposure and familiarity with technological tools which have enabled him to achieve his work goals more efficiently. eHA, according to him, has improved his communication and stakeholder engagement skills, which he believes will be invaluable to him in the long run.

I am particularly proud that I am now able to use modern data management systems and technologies to deliver my role successfully. My work at eHealth Africa has also given me the opportunity to meet and engage with high-profile government officials including governors to advocate for the use of reliable geospatial data for better decision- making.
— Muhammed-Naziru

eHealth Africa supports Sierra Leone’s Public Health Services for better response to public health emergencies

The first-documented most widespread and deadly outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in West Africa devastated three countries: Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. The outbreak started in May 2014 and by November 2014, during the height of the outbreak, Sierra Leone recorded over 500 new cases of Ebola a week. By October 2015, a total of 8,704 EVD cases had been diagnosed, and 3,589 people had died of Ebola in Sierra Leone.

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This disease caught the country’s Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MoHS) by surprise. The outbreak could not be effectively managed because the country did not have the requisite capacity (structure and staff) and systems -Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), policies and plans, to effectively manage and mitigate the risks posed by the disease.

Ebola’s destruction on the peoples of Sierra Leone and the absence of appropriate structures to deal with future outbreaks, prompted the establishment of Public Health National Emergency Operations Center (PHNEOC) in  June 2015, as a coordination structure charged with the responsibility of providing public health emergency preparedness leadership, scientific and technical situational awareness and advice at a national level.

As Sierra Leoneans reflect on the atrocities of Ebola and other emergencies, this question becomes inevitable: Is Sierra Leone better prepared to address any future public health emergencies?

To better prepare for future outbreaks, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Sanitation and eHealth Africa, conducted successful trainings for health workers and other stakeholders on Public Health Emergency Management, Risk Communication,Threat and Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment (THIRA), Incident Management Systems and Public Health Operations and Management. These training sessions were done in Bo, Bombali districts and Western Area Urban with the involvement of health workers, district councillors, the national security agency and members of the agricultural sector. These trainings are geared towards improving the PHNEOC’s capacity to better prepare for health-related emergencies.

The PHNEOC/MoHS as beneficiaries have acquired increased knowledge on the method of approach in risk mitigation, analysis, preparedness, response, and recovery. For instance, EOC Focal Persons have been trained in all districts in Sierra Leone to decentralize command and control approach which has provided the necessary pace, efficiency, and structure for response efforts and foster real-time reporting and bridged the gap in communication from the districts EOC’s to the national EOC. eHA, with support from CDC, has embarked on introducing tools that seek to improve the coordination strategy of the PHNEOC such as the Virtual  Emergency Operations Center (EOC) communication platform tool. eHA has partnered with MoHS with support from CDC to train about 200 PHNEOC/MoHS staff on various public health emergency topics such as tabletop simulation exercises on Cholera and Lassa Fever; Executive Management training and Virtual EOC training.

I have participated in several trainings, I must confess that knowledge gained in this training is exceptional and can contribute meaningfully in any future outbreak and also benefit my District Health Management Team (DHMT) with management skills.
— Sahr Amara Moiba
Virtual EOC training participants

Virtual EOC training participants

Sahr Amara Moiba, District Surveillance Officer and EOC focal person in Kono district, is one of the 200 beneficiaries of the EMP training.

In 2018, there was a Measles outbreak in Pujehun and Kambia district. The EOC focal persons in these districts sent in a daily situational report to the national EOC which was presented to partners during the daily briefing meetings held at the EOC.

As part of the effort to strengthen the PHNEOC preparedness and response capacity, and also improve on the country’s Joint External Evaluation scores, eHA in collaboration with MoHS with support from CDC, developed SOPs for public health response. These SOPs will help improve on the response strategy of the PHNEOC in a coordinated way.

These SOPs will help foster a coordinated response in an event of any public health emergency.
— Mukeh Fambulleh, Program Manager of the PHNEOC

Meet the Team - Sylvia Kalley

Meet Sylvia Kalley, our Grants and Contracts Senior Manager,  who works in our Sierra Leone office!

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Sylvia joined eHealth Africa (eHA) approximately 2 years ago. She plays an integral role at eHA, as she supports the entire project and program portfolio of eHA, across our country offices. She leads the grants and contracts department and is ultimately responsible for the effective management of the full life cycle of projects, from pre-award to close-out.

She manages a team of four, who all contribute to ensuring that the Grants Management office meets the requirements of our clients. When Sylvia first joined the team, she focused on identifying gaps with regards to Grants Management and better internal controls for meeting donor requirements and fostering accountability, in her first year. Now, in her second year, she leads her team to address those gaps and create solutions for better grants and contracts management.

Sylvia’s biggest contribution has been the formalizing of the Grants Management Office including the establishment of the New Business Development Department. Having a formalized office allows for a one to one ratio between a member of our department and each contract within the eHA portfolio. This oversight allows the organization to meet the requirements of each of its contracts as well as improve our credibility with our clients.

Sylvia is particularly proud of her achievements in streamlining the Award Set Up Process for the organization. Before the establishment of this process, visibility regarding signed contracts was quite limited to a few. In collaboration with the larger Finance & Administration team, they created a thorough award set up and project extension notice which provides key information to set up a project in their accounting system once the official contract is signed.

We are happy and proud to have Sylvia as part of our eHealth Africa team.

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

Building Ecosystems that Drive Change

Our experience and track record working to implement projects across our focus areas have shown us that without a unified, collaborative approach, interventions tend to be ineffective and sometimes, inappropriate for the contexts that we work in. We know that solutions and systems are more impactful when they are built in proximity to the environments in which they are needed, and in partnership with stakeholders who have a close grasp of the challenges to be addressed.

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Our goal is to build solutions that address local needs harnessing the power of technology and data. Therefore, we invest in growing the tech ecosystem and sharing our knowledge, lessons, and experience with our partners.
We host meetups and hackathons to create platforms for innovative organizations and individuals to share their work with the global tech community and to support governments with real, context-appropriate solutions to their development challenges. Recently, our 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 ICT Hub to hold KadHack2018, a first of its kind hackathon aimed at providing software developers and 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.

Currently, most learning and education in Nigeria’s tech field are driven by the individuals themselves using resources, which are often external and not based on local challenges. An ecosystem should be self-sufficient. This means that members of the ecosystem should be able to learn, grow, earn and contribute to building the ecosystem. To this end, eHealth Africa is interested in further building the tech ecosystem in Kano State as a pipeline for developing tech talent to build solutions for the local context. Our software team is hosting its March tech meetup on the 30th of March, 2018 at the eHA Kano Campus by 12 pm. The event will feature in-depth knowledge sharing sessions with our team using real, relatable challenges and practical solutions. Read about our last meetups in Berlin and Kano.

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If you are interested in gaining more knowledge to build software solutions that address challenges in health, education, and agriculture, then, register to attend the event here.

eHealth Africa and partners boost Sierra Leone’s surveillance capacity through 117 Call Center

Photo caption: Alexander Taylor, 117 Call Center Manager conducted a tour of the upgraded facility

Photo caption: Alexander Taylor, 117 Call Center Manager conducted a tour of the upgraded facility

Between 2018 and 2019, eHealth Africa (eHA) and the Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MoHS) worked together to ensure that Sierra Leone’s surveillance efforts were strengthened through the use of 117 Call Center.

The 117 Call Center is a Sierra Leone Ministry of Health and Sanitation initiative that was set up in 2012 as part of a wider support system to improve maternal and child health. In 2014, eHA partnered with the Ministries of Health (MOH) in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone to scale up existing universal toll-free numbers to become Ebola focused call centers. The 117 Call Center was scaled-up in response to the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak - to serve as a tool to document, track and provide follow-up on suspected EVD cases and deaths. The 117 Call Center provides an early warning mortality and syndromic surveillance system tool that can detect, prevent and respond to disease outbreaks. Communities are sensitized to call the 117  line and report all deaths, suspicious illnesses, and events. In Sierra Leone, the 117 Call Center has helped to solve many issues like improving community death reporting through mortality surveillance; real-time alert reporting for infectious death, increasing alert and data support to the maternal & perinatal disease surveillance.

Recently, the 117 Call Center has seen major transformation-from extending the facility and giving it a facelift, to upgrading software for a more efficient system that the peoples of Sierra Leone can trust and utilize.

We have upgraded the call center software for a more accurate and precise data collection. Our community health workers play a very vital role in reporting cases to 117. We have added a new caller category of Community Health Workers. We also provided internet services for all the districts for real-time reporting and data collection for 117. We have also improved on our SMS software service that now provides a single text code to a caller to receive the burial code which confirms that they have indeed called 117.
— Sally Williams, 117 Project Manager, eHA.

In an effort to get the districts more engaged, 117 is not just centralized in Freetown. Alert desks have been set up in all 14 districts with District and Data coordinators there to manage the calls in real time.

The 117 Call Center is making positive strides in the country and the upgrade has taken it to international standard. 117 is easier to rebrand, given its popularity across the country.
— Dr. A.J. Moosa, Deputy Director - Health Security and Emergency.

Strengthening the surveillance system in Sierra Leone through the 117 Call Center is an unending quest.

We are planning on re-branding 117 and utilizing the social mobilization officers especially in the districts so that we can reach a greater number of our communities and encourage people to call 117 for any and all emergencies!
— Sally Williams

The 117 Call Center actively participates in the Surveillance Technical working group of the government of Sierra Leone’s One Health Approach Initiative, where the most updated information is shared as received via our call centers to guide interventions. Every day, the 117 Call Center is striving to produce better quality data to drive the evidence-based approach when handling public health issues in the country.

International Women’s Day Spotlight: #BalanceforBetter

International Women's Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements and contributions of women. The day has been celebrated for well over a century, since 1911 and draws attention to the need for more progressive mindsets, inclusive behaviors and continuous efforts from everyone, everywhere and at every level, to promote women’s equality.

Balance is not a women's issue, it's an economic issue. Gender equality and women empowerment are central to the attainment of all the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. This year’s theme, #BalanceforBetter highlights the value that women add to their families, communities, economies, and to the world; as well as the contributions that they can bring to the table if they are given seats. Achieving balance requires that the voices and experiences of both men and women are considered and integrated at the inception of policies, innovations, and programs. No one should be left behind.  

Here at eHealth Africa, we embrace gender balance and we recognize its role in ensuring that businesses and projects, including ours, thrive. eHealth Africa is an equal opportunity employer and we have put policies in place that support both men and women to achieve their professional and personal goals. Our workplace policies on diversification and maternity leave challenge stereotypes in the workplace and encourage women at every stage of life to maintain the balance between their roles in their personal and professional lives. We are especially proud of the gender balance in our leadership. Our board of directors is 60% female and most members of our senior management team, are women.

Today, we recognize and thank the women we have worked with—the mothers who take their children to the health facilities we support, the female health workers who mobilize them, our staff at our country offices who create tools for collecting and analyzing reliable, real-time data and the women in governments across Africa, who plan programs and formulate policies that shape health systems.

We can all do something to support gender balance for a better world. Put your hands out and strike the #BalanceforBetter pose, as we celebrate women all over the world!

 




eHealth Africa renovates Njala University research center with CDC funding

eHealth Africa (eHA) in partnership with U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has renovated the  Njala University research center at Tiwai Island, in a drive to support one-health surveillance activities in Sierra Leone. The project was funded by CDC, with the objective of improving knowledge and infrastructure capacity at Njala University research center to perform routine Ebola and infectious disease surveillance.

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Research began on Tiwai Island in the early 1980s, with studies on primates, other mammals, forest dynamics etc. This research was vital for disease and one-health surveillance activities as Sierra Leone, ebola virus disease outbreak was traced to bats and primates. However, over the years, the facility had fallen into disrepair and was unusable. Renovation of the Tiwai Island research center commenced in November 2018. eHA has now completed renovations on the entire campus including storage room; kitchen, meeting areas, and dormitories. The facilities were equipped with solar power, which now provides uninterrupted power on a daily basis, solar powered water supply in order to ensure adequate water supply during the dry season.

Those who had visited the Tiwai Research Center before now, would agree with me that there is much difference after the renovation. We are happy that this facility is now ready for use. Communities and stakeholders associated with Tiwai are very grateful. This was made possible through funding from the CDC and renovations by eHealth Africa.
— Dr. Lebbie, Head of Department of Biological Science, Njala University- Head of the Njala Research Center
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CDC has been working with Njala since the Ebola outbreak. CDC has a strong relationship with the Njala team and helping them to have more capacity to do testing to look for viruses, including the Ebola virus that caused the outbreak here. We are looking for other viruses that are in the environment so that we can know more about our environment, learn to live safely with it, and prevent outbreaks from happening. We want to prevent disease outbreaks, and we’re doing that by helping the people of Sierra Leone find those viruses themselves – to study them here so that they don’t rely on outside help. We have seen great success with Njala University and their team doing this work here. CDC is eager to continue to support that effort because we’re so impressed by what’s been done already.
— Dr. Brigette Gleason, Surveillance and Program Lead CDC Sierra Leone Country Office

These renovated structures go to benefit not only Njala University students and faculty and  Sierra Leone’s Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MoHS), but also international researchers.

We will be inviting international auditors who will be resident here to do research; and through that, job opportunities would be opened to the community.’
— Dr Lebbie

eHealth Africa supports data collection on the prevalence of Hepatitis B in three districts in Sierra Leone

eHealth Africa (eHA) is supporting data collection on the prevalence of Hepatitis B in the Bo and Bombali districts, and Western Urban area in Sierra Leone, through its Hepatitis B Sero Survey project. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is funding this project.

A Sero Survey is a test of blood serum from a group of individuals to determine seroprevalence.

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The African Regional Committee of the World Health Organization in 2014, endorsed a resolution to reduce chronic Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection prevalence to <2% in children less than 5 years of age in all member states by 2020. In Sierra Leone, there is no accurate data on Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) infection among children and women of childbearing age. Hence the need for a survey to determine the prevalence of HBV infection among infants, children and women of childbearing age in order to inform the HBV vaccination policy of Sierra Leone.

In 2007, the country introduced the Hepatitis B vaccine as a component of the pentavalent vaccine provided at 6, 10 and 14 weeks of age. However, a birth dose of Hepatitis B vaccine recommended by WHO to prevent mother - to - child HBV transmission is not yet included in the routine immunization schedule.

The Hepatitis B community serosurvey conducted in the 3 districts, targeted some 2,544 infants aged 4- 24 months and their biological mothers to evaluate the risk of mother to child transmission and subsequent need for a Hepatitis B vaccine birth dose; and also 2,332 children aged 5- 9 years to assess the impact of childhood pentavalent vaccine on the prevalence of Hepatitis B virus infection among children.

Prior to collecting data, a five- day classroom and practical field training was conducted to:

  • build the knowledge of the surveyors

  • identify households

  • counsel families ahead of the survey

  • conduct a rapid diagnostic test on Hepatitis B and  the processing and tracking of venous blood specimen

As part of the training, a practical field exercise was also conducted to pretest participants’ knowledge on the classroom training.

eHA is a technology-driven organization. In a drive to discourage potential errors via paper-based methods and to present an automated approach to health data collection, eHA also trained supervisors and phlebotomists on the use of the Open Data Kit (ODK) tool. eHA provided the phones and data for the survey and installed the ODK  app (which is used for data collection in the field), the age= app for age calculation, and the  ODK dashboard. With ODK, data collection is done easily, and survey activities monitored in near real time.

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A total of 3,934 forms were submitted via the ODK tool of which 3,158 (80%) of households visited were willing to participate in the survey. Out of the 2,232 households selected for children aged 2 months - 24 months, 1,704 children were enrolled which is 76% and 1,604 biological mothers of these children were also enrolled.

For the 5-9 year-olds, out of the 2,250 households selected, 80% participated with 1,811 enrolled. For children with vaccination cards, 1,186 were enrolled and 401 for the 5- 9 year- olds. A total of 551 serum samples were collected during the 6-week community serosurvey.  

eHA continues to work with the CDC and other partners with a view to increasing the early detection and reporting of government-identified priority diseases, especially when very little is known about HBV prevalence in Sierra Leone.

Technical Career Development at eHealth Africa

Health systems, especially in within Africa, face the challenge of delivering high-quality services to an ever-growing population with limited resources. This has necessitated the development of innovative approaches to expand access to healthcare to larger numbers of people, even in the most difficult-to-reach locations. The role of electronic and mobile technologies, ranging from simple SMS messaging for reporting and complex information and data management systems for studying patterns in disease prevalence, in the transformation of healthcare delivery has become more evident.

eHealth Africa was founded in 2009, on the belief that adapting technology to meet local needs and settings, is the key to delivering better health services. A decade later and with projects such as the Geo-Referenced Infrastructure and Demographic Data for Development (GRID3) and solutions such as LoMIS Suite and Gather under our belt, eHealth Africa is an established leader in the Global Health Informatics (GHI) space.  Our approach to technology is that systems designed in proximity to the environment in which they are needed are stronger, more effective, and help close the gap between design and use.

Our GHI program spans several technical areas including software development, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) & Analytics, Information Technology & Engineering Operations, Business Analysis and DevOps Engineering. We therefore constantly seek to connect and leverage our work across focus areas while attracting and retaining the best employees. Through a more deliberate focus on employee development, we focus on building and keeping an outstanding Africa-based team to execute our work.

There’s always time to laugh when you love your job

There’s always time to laugh when you love your job

Some members of our GHI team share some of the ways that eHA supports the development of careers in tech.

Evance, Senior Software Developer in Software & Solutions Development

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Working at eHealth Africa is by far, the most rewarding career experience I have had. I joined eHA two years ago and before that, I had several years of experience developing software for customer-oriented companies. At eHealth Africa, the focus is on saving lives in the most constrained environments in Africa. Not only have I worked on many projects, all requiring different technical specifications and I have done so in three countries namely, Guinea, Liberia, and Nigeria, using some of the coolest technologies available in our age such as Big/Sensitive data management, Offline- aware apps, Biometric identification). Creating software for various contexts and needs, motivates and challenges me to be more creative and to try new methods. I have grown as a software developer because of the work that I do at eHA. It is an amazing feeling for me to see how the codes I write contribute to improving healthcare among underserved populations.
— Evance

Sandra, Senior Business Analyst in Software & Solutions Development

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As a Senior Business Analyst with the GHI program, I work in the capacity of a project manager, responsible for planning and executing a project. I am also responsible for the requirements analysis and documentation, specifications, development cycle and execution of a variety of GHI projects. eHA has provided me and my colleagues with a platform to excel. I have been given way more opportunities in just 1 year working with eHA, than in the two years I spent working with other organizations. At eHealth Africa, there are a lot of opportunities for career growth within the organization, irrespective of your tech inclination. I joined eHA as a Business Analyst in 2017 and by the end of 2018, I had been promoted twice. I have worked on many projects and last year, I was made the project lead for an eLearning initiative for employees and clients. Thanks to eHealth Africa, I and other colleagues were trained and have received the Projects in Controlled Environments (PRINCE2) certification, which is invaluable for a career in project management. The organization expects great results from their staff but what is most important is that eHA pushes and supports us to achieve our personal development and career goals.
— -Sandra

Oluwafemi, Associate Manager, DevOps Engineering

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DevOps is a growing culture which was born out of the need to roll out incremental changes to software several times daily. In the past, it was not scalable or automated; now with new technologies in cloud computing, automation and deployment, development and operations process are easier and more cost-cutting.
At eHA, we use open source technologies to solve health-related challenges in contexts which are constantly evolving. It is very important for the solutions that we create to move from writing to pushing to production within minutes. DevOps simply eliminates the barrier between the people who develop software and those who operate it, allowing the development of solutions that integrate functionality with enhanced usage and minimal error. I joined eHA about 2 years ago as a DevOps engineer and in that time, I’ve worked with the team on the best and most cost-effective way to evolve and improve our solutions at a faster pace.
The best part of working in eHA, for me, is that there’s always room to learn and grow. I am continuously exchanging knowledge and learning about the latest technology trends to keep up with the ever-growing DevOps culture.
— Oluwafemi

Detan, Associate Manager in Geographic Information Systems

There is a tendency for techies to be somewhat distant from the clients who use their software or solutions. eHA allows members of the GHI team to be seconded to other eHA offices in Berlin, Sierra Leone, and Liberia and to clients in different parts of the continent (Chad, Cameroon, Niger) in order to ensure that the team is fully embedded with clients and fellow technical consultants. This provides a deeper grasp of the context and increases empathy towards the client and the work that we do, making work enjoyable, irrespective of the inherent challenges and risks in implementing a project.
In addition, jobs roles within the organization and division allow for flexibility and adaptability to suit project requirements and career goals. For example, business analysts may double as project managers on a small project, and there are opportunities for project managers and UI/UX designers to transition into product management roles if they are interested in such career paths, while technical leads may also double as technical project managers if need be. Members of the GHI team attend and plan conferences, hackathons and other meetups within the technology industry. This helps our team stay abreast with new trends in our field so they can improve themselves, and deliver better results.
— Detan

eHealth Africa is committed not just to delivering data-driven solutions that address systems-level issues across Africa, but to providing career and learning opportunities to tech enthusiasts. We are passionate about sharing our knowledge, experience, and skills with the next generation in order to inspire positive change. eHealth Africa frequently hosts tech meetups in Kano and Berlin to bring together individuals who are interested in developing technological tools for development.

If you are interested in pursuing a career in tech or global health informatics with an established leader in the field, visit the careers page on our website to keep up with internship or job opportunities.