By Dawn Seymour, Deputy Director, BID Initiative
May 9, 2018
The BID Initiative is headed to the ICT4D conference in Lusaka, Zambia this week for a chance to share and learn from others in the international development community. The conference convenes public, private and civil society organizations from across the international development community, including professionals with backgrounds in health, agriculture, finance, software development and data use and visualization, to name a few. This year, ICT4D is expected to attract more than 600 participants.
I’m excited by the breadth and depth of information that will be shared because the conference brings together experts from a range of fields. And I’m thrilled to be participating in a couple of panels, which will allow me to share the experiences of the BID Initiative about the use of open-source software for electronic immunization registries (EIRs) in Tanzania and Zambia, as well as our lessons about what technical and human capacity is needed for successful ICT initiatives. I’ll also be presenting on BID’s work during a session called “Scaling digital solutions and a culture of data use: Lessons learned in Tanzania and Zambia.”
Although conference schedules can be packed, this is a great opportunity to meet individuals and teams from a variety of backgrounds from all around the world who are using innovative approaches to address some of global health’s most pressing challenges. It’s a chance to connect with communities of practice in an effort to continually share and learn from each other. For instance, later this week, I’ll be attending a session on the importance of maintaining privacy within digital initiatives. Though both EIRs in Tanzania and Zambia have data security features, the field is constantly growing and evolving. It’s important to keep the pulse on this topic because it affects us within our work, and as consumers in the health system. As both countries plan for sustainability, and as the EIRs continue to integrate with other systems, data security will become increasingly important.
I’m also looking forward to a session called “Supportive supervision: Past, present and future.” In health, we often talk about the siloes that exist between health services, health departments, organizations, and other sectors, but data is increasingly a mechanism for breaking down these siloes. Supportive supervision is a facilitative approach to supervision that promotes mentorship, collaborative problem-solving and two-way communication. It’s also a critical component of strengthening data use culture across the health system. The BID Initiative adopts principles of supportive supervision in its rollout strategy, for instance, when monitoring and targeting underperforming health facilities to ensure those facilities have what they need to improve service delivery. I’m excited to learn from others who have applied similar approaches within their health programs, projects and initiatives!
Below is a summary of the sessions BID staff will be participating in throughout the week.