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Perspectives on the Design Collaborative

By Monica Graham, Communications Manager, BID Initiative

Dec 11, 2014

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Mr. Gaurang Tanna from the National Department of Health, South Africa, describes the ideal immunization system to benefit a mother and child. Photo: PATH

Mr. Gaurang Tanna from the National Department of Health, South Africa, describes the ideal immunization system to benefit a mother and child. Photo: PATH

Last week’s BLN Design Collaborative brought together health officials from nine sub-Saharan African countries to discuss and iterate on the design of BID Initiative solutions. The meeting provided a fantastic opportunity for country partners to gather and learn from one another. I personally had the chance to sit down with some of the attendees to discuss challenges related to immunization data in their countries and get their perspective on the value of peer learning and their role in the BLN as a design country.

“As a person in charge of policy direction and monitoring and evaluation in my country’s immunization program, the BLN meetings empower me with knowledge and insights to help me make better informed decisions about our nation’s immunization data issues. One of the key lessons I am taking away from the meeting in Lusaka is related to our tendency of introducing information systems and getting rid of them once they fail to perform a certain function. I am happy to learn that instead of getting rid of a system, we can actually leverage its strengths and integrate it with other systems so that in the end, we can still have one integrated and robust system.”

–          Dr. Collins Tabu, Epidemiologist, Policy Direction and M&E, Unite of Vaccines & Immunizations, Ministry of Health, Kenya

“Immunization data quality and proper utilization has always been a problem. We can’t continue complaining about the same thing all the time. We have to be willing to embrace new ideas – we have to welcome innovation and that’s what this meeting is getting us to understand. I am excited about the prospects we are beginning to see and the opportunities this initiative may create for my country.”

–          Dr. Graça Matsinhe, EPI Manager, Ministry of Health, Mozambique 

This is my first BLN meeting and I hope to attend many more. Throughout the meeting, we combined theoretical discussions with more practical, hands-on exercises. I help manage ICT for my country’s health system so it’s important that I understand what other countries are doing and how Mali aligns with international standards. These are concepts we don’t learn in school so I am happy to learn from the BID Initiative and my peers and colleagues from other countries.”

–          Mr. Tidiani Togola, Technical Director, National Agency for TeleHealth and Health Informatics, Mali

“Every time I attend a BLN meeting, I walk away with tangible ideas and tools that I can take to my country. In Côte d’Ivoire, we have big problems with the denominator and it’s difficult to identify the number of kids we need to vaccinate. At the BLN meeting in Nairobi, there were many discussions about registering children at birth. Now as we meet again in Lusaka, I’m pleased to say that this concept is being rolled out in test phases.”

–          Mr. Adam Pongathie, Director of Planning and Evaluation, Department of Health and the Fight Against AIDS, Côte d’Ivoire

“As a country, Nigeria has a lot to learn and there are so many important considerations when thinking about how to improve data collection and use. The BLN meetings are a real forum in helping my country think about how we can improve. There’s so much for me to take home and digest and I hope to use these tools to solve many problems such as stock management, reducing wastes and costs throughout the health system and accurately capturing the denominator.”

–          Dr. Mustafa Mahmud, Director of Logistics and Health Commodities, National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Nigeria

Stay tuned as we share more updates on the outcomes of the BLN Design Collaborative Meeting.

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