EpiHack Uganda: Strengthening Health Systems for Disease Surveillance
EpiHack™ Uganda was held April 16 -20, 2018 in Kampala with theme “Strengthening Uganda’s Health Systems Response To Disease Outbreaks”. Post-event technology innovation development is being supported by a Ugandan technology fellow undergoing training and coaching from the InSTEDD team.
After over a year of planning and challenge discovery with stakeholders across Uganda, the Ministry of Health, Ending Pandemics and InSTEDD ran a week long “hack for health” in Kampala. Over 40 local public health officials and technology developers selected from a pool of 300 applicants joined the event in Kampala with a team of facilitators from Africa, Southeast Asia, Latin America and the United States. The theme, selected by the Ugandan Ministry of Health, was “Strengthening Health Systems for Disease Surveillance”.
OPPORTUNITY FOR IMPACT
The EpiHack is a multi-day collaboration event that brings together technologists, epidemiologists, and public health experts for intensive co-creation, networking, and prototyping of solutions for improved disease surveillance. An EpiHack fuses elements of hacking (in legal software development terms), marathon-like intensive coding and development in a short period of time, with elements of a symposium on innovations in disease surveillance and epidemiology. Each EpiHack has a specific theme which frames the problems and solutions the participants will prototype during the event.
The Uganda Ministry of Health and its partners have been developing a health information management system to capture clinic and disease data from all levels of health care in the hot zone country. Multiple challenges were identified in the system which need to be solved before large scale roll out in all health centers in Uganda. The high level opportunity of the EpiHack Uganda was to build on the MoH work to prototype innovations and refine solutions for next generation improvements and enhancements to Ugandan disease surveillance and health information sharing.
The EpiHack Uganda brought together local and public health leaders and technologists, resulting in the formation of new critical connections needed to develop long-term digital solutions to improve and enhance Ugandan disease surveillance and public health information sharing. After dividing participants into different groups and spending days and nights of brainstorming, collaboration, and hacking, the final day consisted of presenting prototypes.
The prototypes for EpiHack Uganda were: Contract Tracing, Outbreak Management, and Logistic Tracking for Laboratory Specimen. Post-EpiHack prototypes are being further developed through a technology fellow and the network created by the event.
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