Health Hackathon on Risk Communication Nigeria Edition: Day 1
Day 1 of the Health Hackathon on Risk Communication was a huge success. In the morning we heard from a number of speakers who introduced the topic of risk communication and discussed outbreak issues and technology. Unfortunately not all of our participants were able to make it, partly due to the army clash near Abuja but we have had around 60 people attend who have formed 10 teams.
In the morning we heard from the very well informed Sabine Abelfoni who has been working for GiZ for over 20 years. Sabine is an economist and public health expert with many years of experience in development cooperation. She gave a very interesting speech on the role of GiZ and about health system strengthening, healthcare quality management and disease control. Sabine is currently responsible for the Pandemic Prevention Support Project in the ECOWAS region, based in Abuja, Nigeria.
Next to speak was Pilar Hernandez from GFA Consulting Group. Pilar is specialist in the control and elimination strategies for communicable diseases and so her talk was extremely interesting. Her education includes an MSc in Control of Infectious Diseases at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and a PhD in laboratory and point-of-care diagnosis of infectious diseases in low- and middle-income countries. We are very grateful to Pilar for taking the time to come in and share her knowledge.
Dr Lawal Bakare, CEO of EpidAlert delivered a fascinating talk on on misinformation during the times of health crisis. He used the example of misinformation during during the monkeypox outbreak to describe the importance of getting verified and accurate information out to people who are at risk.
We learned about closing the gaps in outbreak preparedness from Dr Babacar Fall as he spoke to us about prevention and recovery. Dr Fall is from The Regional Centre for Disease Control. Originally from Senegal, he is a medical doctor graduate in public health and a spcialization in health emergency response with the Spanish Medical Society. He worked for the Ministry of Health there and for USAid in public health. When Ebola arrived in West Africa, he was a member of the team that developed the risk plan before joining WAHO. Worked with us on this program in Liberia last month.
Beti Baiye also spoke about misinformation, asking the crowd whether they rememeberd ebola rumours such as taking a salt bath at 5am to prevent it. Beti is a Public Health Research Associate and an editor with Nigeria Health Watch, a non-governmental, not for profit organisation that offers communication and advocacy expertise in the health sector.
In the afternoon our participants formed into 10 teams and spent the remainder of the day throwing ideas related to health emergencies and technology around. We have overheard some incredible ideas from the teams so stay tuned to hear more…
Thank you to everyone who has participated in the hackathon so far!