eHealth Africa Encourages Local Software Development in Sierra Leone

By Jasper Timm & Hawa Kombian

To pursue and promote continuous learning, eHealth Africa (eHA) supports the innovative technology solutions in Sierra Leone by encouraging local software development. Software development remains strategic for Africa's development and continues to widen opportunities in areas including health, education, and governance.

eHA’s Information Systems (IS) department runs a community outreach program in an effort to promote software development as a vocation and build relationships with the software development community in Freetown, Sierra Leone. eHA currently holds software talks and workshops for the general public at Freetown’s Sensi Tech Hub. An extension of this program involves a workshop held at our office with students enrolled in software development related courses from local universities.

Top Left: Ibrahim Bayoh from the IS team shares developer tips and tricks with the students (Photo: Les De Wit)
Top Left: Ibrahim Bayoh from the IS team shares developer tips and tricks with the students (Photo: Les De Wit)

In September, eHA hosted students from BlueCrest College, a high-tech tertiary institution in Freetown, Sierra Leone. The team covered eHA software development tools, developer tips and tricks, and gave a comparison of life at university vs. work in the software industry - with personal accounts of what got the current IS team members so passionate about software development. In addition,  we got hands-on with the students to tackle a mock software problem. Almost like a mini Hackathon, the students split up into groups and with assistance from an IS team member, they wrote code to implement a couple of features in a simple web application. At the end, each group presented their solution.

The day was a great success and the students provided enthusiastic feedback on the overall event and how it met their expectations (It was amazing!). Many students commented that they valued the exposure to new programming tools and languages in the software world.

“I learned that I should never sleep regretting a day I spent coding”

— Participant

It was an absolute pleasure to host the students from BlueCrest College - they were all extremely attentive throughout the session. Thanks to Madhusudan Mukerjee and Shailesh Kanani from BlueCrest College for supporting our initiative. At eHA, we believe in the power of technology to make a transformational difference in health systems, and we know that when we do high-quality work, we have the opportunity to change lives in the communities we impact.

We are hiring, come join us! We have an open position for an Intern Software Developer with the IS department in Sierra Leone. If you’d like to apply, or join the eHA team in any other capacity, head over to our Careers page.