THE HEALTH HACKATHON on Risk Communication

LIBERIA EDITION

LIBERIA EDITION

THE HEALTH HACKATHON on Risk Communication For West Africa

Liberia Hackathon

The Liberia Health Hackathon on Risk Communication is a four-day event that is designed to bring together tech developers, risk communication and disease control professionals to brainstorm and design solutions that can enhance efforts in preparing for and responding to health emergencies and epidemics. These actors will convene together at the BlueCrest University in Monrovia Liberia, working together to conceive and rapidly develop new approaches.

The event will be organized by Sensi Tech Innovation Hub in partnership with the MoHL on behalf of GFA Consulting Group GmbH and GIZ as part of the German Cooperation-financed Regional Program supporting Pandemic Prevention in the ECOWAS Region (RPPP)

Platforms and solutions developed will address delays, missed opportunities and even tragedies that can come from poor communication of health information during health emergencies and epidemics. For instance, the teams on the Hackathon may create new web- and mobile-based tools designed to address a specific need.

Teams might find new ways to harness communication channels to ensure the effective spread of important and accurate health information. Participants will receive inspiration, guidance, and input from experts working in the health and risk communication sectors in Liberia and the ECOWAS region. They will also receive support from technology professionals and mentors that will be present throughout the four-day event.

At the end of the 4 days intense incubation and acceleration phase, teams will present their prototypes for judging on the final afternoon, competing for a chance to develop their ideas further with support from Sensi Tech Hub, GIZ, GFA and the Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MoHL) in Liberia.

All participants will retain the right to develop their ideas after the event.

The event will be organized by Sensi Tech Innovation Hub in partnership with the MoHL on behalf of GFA Consulting Group GmbH and GIZ as part of the German Cooperation-financed Regional Program supporting Pandemic Prevention in the ECOWAS Region (RPPP)

The event is open to all tech developers, risk communication specialists, and disease control professionals. We welcome individuals from local universities, organizations, and institutions across Liberia who are motivated to participate in this intense incubation and acceleration of ideas.

Liberia Risk Communication Contextual Background

The recent unexpected Ebola virus disease outbreak that devastated communities across Liberia (2014 -2016), brought to light major challenges and gaps in how risk is communicated during health emergencies and epidemics in the country. The challenges included difficulties in developing coordinated communication strategies that are inclusive of all key stakeholders and partners during emergencies and epidemics; the rapid transformation in communications technology including the penetration of mobile telephones; the widespread use and increasingly powerful influence of social media; coordinating ‘traditional’ media (newspapers, radio and television); and major changes in how people access and trust available health information.

Important gaps exist in understanding and implementing solutions in the context of Liberia particularly with regards to understanding the social, economic, political and cultural factors influencing people’s perception of risk and their risk-reduction behaviors. Finally, guidance and structures are needed on the best approaches for strengthening the planning and implementation of emergency risk communication (ERC) capacity and sustaining them for potential health emergencies and epidemics.