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Q&A with the BID Learning Network Director: Part 2

By Monica Graham, communications officer, BID Initiative

Sep 10, 2014

Posted in ,

We recently sat down with Chilunga Puta to learn more about her new role as the BID Learning Network (BLN) director. In the second part of her Q&A, Chilunga shares more details about the BLN and why it’s important to BID’s overall success.

1. How would you describe the BLN? What’s unique about it?

The BID initiative has a country focus in that the countries are at the forefront of innovation and the design of potential solutions. The BLN as a part of BID Initiative uniquely positions countries to learn from one another, encourages peer learning and review, and enables innovation that comes out of shared learning and experience. Both the BID Initiative and BLN adopted an approach that recognizes that what will stand the test of time is that which is formed and nurtured by the countries themselves, and tailored to the unique circumstances of each respective country.

The BLN therefore provides an invaluable platform for continuous peer learning and communication, as well as synthesis and documentation of country outputs in terms of approaches, solutions, products, practices etc. It’s my belief that an effective community of practice will emerge out of the BLN and if sustained over time, will constructively contribute to resolving vexing data issues in the wider healthcare system.

2. Why is the BLN important to the BID Initiative’s overall work? How will it further the BID Initiative?

The BLN will be the conduit of the knowledge and learning generated by member countries. It’s at the heart of all BID activities and will be the custodian of country outputs which it will synthesize and disseminate. Subsequently, BLN will be the vehicle through which peer learning and information exchange will occur. BLN will provide a platform for the generation, sharing and validation of ideas. Accordingly, BLN is indispensable to the success of the overall BID initiative.

3. What are the benefits of peer learning?

There is evidence in published peer-reviewed literature that indicates that when a colleague exhibits observable improvements, other colleagues (peers) tend to learn from that person and improve their own performance. In other words, learning happens through peer interaction. Peer learning is nonthreatening because it occurs among equals or colleagues, not through an authority figure. Colleagues easily relate and discuss issues in an atmosphere that allows them to freely express themselves without fear of being judged or belittled.

BLN will facilitate peer learning among member countries with a view to creating a professional community of practice where participants get to the heart of issues challenging immunization data access and quality that they need to understand to be successful. This might include clarifying approaches to designing an effective immunization information system, building skills, troubleshooting challenges, and sharing best practices. Peer learning allows participants to bond so that they’re able to advise and inspire one another as they share so many commonalities in their work. In this setting, individuals can leverage the collective wisdom of their peers when they need it most.

4. What can BLN members expect from you?

I come with a wealth of experience from working in developing country healthcare delivery systems and implementing quality improvement programs in less than ideal settings. I believe the BLN members can benefit from this experience. Equally, the BLN members also come with wide-ranging expertise and experience and I hope to learn from them as well.

In this way I believe we can build and achieve both the immediate and long-range objectives of the BLN and together, contribute to the betterment of immunization programs and eventually to the reduction of preventable morbidity and mortality. I’m committed to giving my best to this initiative so that we can make the best use of this opportunity to improve immunization programs in our countries.

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