Winston Churchill once said, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” At HAS, we know that all people and organizations enjoy successful ventures alongside attempts that don’t work out as planned; what matters is that we remain dedicated to improvement. This theme was reinforced throughout this past weekend, when we, Nicole Dionne (HAS Nutrition Program Manager) and Adriana LaMonte (HAS Coordinator of Monitoring and Evaluation) presented at two global health conferences: the Innovations in International Development conference hosted by New York University’s Wagner School of Public Service and the International Public Service Association (IPSA), and Unite for Sight’s Global Health and Innovation Conference held at Yale University. These informative, inspiring events allowed us to share experiences and learn about a variety of health and development projects happening worldwide, many in settings like our own Artibonite.
On Friday, April 12, our presentation at the IPSA conference focused on sharing lessons learned from the mobile phone-based data collection pilot at HAS. This project, piloted in March 2012 and now in its rollout/expansion phase, allows HAS community health workers to track child nutrition and health data. HAS health workers, doctors and program managers can now monitor children’s growth along with treatment referrals to ensure the best continuity of care; we no longer rely solely on aggregated data to target the nutritional health of the 0-5 population. Over 2,000 children in our service area now have community-based nutrition treatment information associated with their electronic medical records. The presentation recognized these successes, while acknowledging the challenges that HAS faces in expanding the program. Other presenters at the conference shared their projects in international development. We heard from development practitioners about their use of technology for education, banking, and improving governance; how to incentivize innovations and encourage new approaches to philanthropy; and learning from failure to turn mistakes into innovation.
Unite for Sight put on a conference (April 13-14) with thousands of participants and speakers from all 50 states and 50 countries! There was a wide range of fields represented, with topics ranging from social entrepreneurship, to maternal and child health, to global health education. There was a decided emphasis on mHealth technology. These presentations showed us how other organizations are using technology, from Little Devices’ DIY kits to make basic medical devices out of local products and reduce reliance on expensive medical equipment, to Johns Hopkins University’s Global mHealth Initiative that aims to use mobile phone technology to improve rural referral systems for obstetric and newborn care. HAS was featured during an open poster session, in which Nicole presented results from the 2011 baseline study for nutrition in HAS’ service area, which was conducted prior to the official start of our community-based approach to prevent and treat acute malnutrition program.
These conferences facilitated valuable interactions with fellow development and health professionals working all over the world. We got positive feedback and constructive suggestions from some, and learned so much from hearing others’ stories from the field. It is inspiring to see how professionals and students from different backgrounds are taking unique approaches to achieve the same goal – improving health and reducing poverty worldwide. Once again we were reminded that every step is a learning experience from which to build better healthcare and quality of life for the people of the Artibonite Valley.
As always, stay tuned to our blog for regular updates on how we continue to learn from our experiences and improve our services!
One thought on “Putting our Heads Together to Find Global Health Solutions”
Inspired and Motivated.