My first real interactions with working in the Health Sector came in 2008 – working on the Ministry of Health supported project – Uganda Health Information Network – implemented by Uganda Chartered Healthnet in Rakai, Lyantonde, Mbale, Manafwa and Bududa districts. Primarily, this project was about the electronic transmission of Health Management Information System data (033b, 105, 107, 108) collected on PDAs; via a GSM (GPRS) connection, occassioned by a small piece of technology aptly named the African Access Point.
This work also led me to learn to use Pendragon Forms to collect Survey Data for projects on Program interventions in Ghana and LLITNs in Nigeria, Schistosomiasis and Mental Health in Uganda. This was my baptism into the field. In the 2 years i worked around this work, i interacted with iHRIS (Capacity Health), OpenMRS, Frontline SMS, GatherData, EpiInfo; and i saw the birth of platforms and communities such as Mobile Monday, mHealth Groups, the mHealth Working Group.
I was involved in one of the most interesting studies that never saw the light of day – Unique Patient IDs – was a concept that was going to be supported by the swedes under SPIDER Collaboration that even had a student engagement module. I never looked back. Health is a very interesting subject matter, and for me, to use my experiences with technology to achieve health outcomes has always been a rewarding effort.
In 2010, I joined the International Health Sciences University, initially to manage the ICT Department. Education had always been one of those things i also love to do, so this was a good opportunity for me. Beyond computers, and websites, I sought to add value by improving the knowledge pool that health workers in training had, around ICTs and their effective use. Today, IHSU has taken on the course i developed – Computer Skills (for undergraduate level) – for its bachelor’s classes taking Public Health, Nursing, Clinical Medicine and Lab Medicine. Still, there is one course that I have not been able to do, that is still very much on my heart – Health and Technology – designed for postgraduate level. This would be a great opportunity for me to team up with people who are interested in this. This could also be the source for health informatics at postgraduate level.
In July 2013, I applied to the prestigious Global Health Corp Fellowship – and was accepted. This movement rallies young people aged below 30, around issues of Global Health in SubSaharan Africa and the United States – and uniquely places them in a year long fellowship to work on some of these issues. My placement is with the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation in South Western Uganda, in the role: Communications and Documentation Officer.
This year, I have dived deep in the work of the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation in their work to eliminate mother to child transmission of HIV. I am still learning alot about HIV and AIDS, and the work of development partners in fighting alongside us. Most importantly, I am learning to use the web and other media, to tell the stories of mothers, children and men allover the region, who are infected with HIV/AIDS and how they are benefiting from the services of the Foundation’s work in the various projects. There is still alot for me to learn, when it comes to health, but thankfully, its one of the things i love to do.