Home Essential Stories Essential Stories: Meet Sierra Leone’s Ministry of Health and Sanitation ICT Manager

Essential Stories: Meet Sierra Leone’s Ministry of Health and Sanitation ICT Manager

by Frañkvin Bob McEwen
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Over the past several years, as the ICT manager at the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, I’ve been managing Sierra Leone’s digital District Health Information System (DHIS2). It’s a globally recognized platform to collate and manage health data. Technology didn’t play as big a role for Ebola as it does now. A major shift in our approach is that the COVID-19 National Emergency Operation has an ICT Pillar headed by the country’s Chief Innovation Officer from the Directorate of Science, Technology, and Innovation (DSTI). In partnership with DSTI and the Ministry of Health, we have developed several technological solutions to give citizens, administrators, and frontline health workers new tools to better respond to the pandemic. ⁠

Photo Credit: Vickie Remoe

My new temporary office is a small room at the entrance of the National Emergency Operation Center on Wilkinson Road. My door is rarely open, but usually, I’m working to support the servers, systems, and digital technology needed to maintain connectivity at the NEOC. We have developed an electronic pass to monitor and regulate inter-district travel and the movement of people during lockdowns and curfews. And we have also created a dashboard to visualize all health data coming in from labs, contact tracers, and surveillance teams. ⁠

I was part of the COVID-19 emergency tech response team that created the dual COVID self-check mobile application portal (USSD and SMS) to allow citizens to check their own symptoms; learn about prevention measures; and get updates on the COVID-19 situation in Sierra Leone, including the number of cases, deaths, and the safety measures. The *468# (*GOV#) Government USSD platform and its accompanying 468 SMS Service have been accessed over a million times in the first 4 weeks as citizens seek verified and accurate information about COVID-19. ⁠

Credit: Essential Stories

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Over the past several years, as the ICT manager at the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, I’ve been managing Sierra…

Posted by Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) on Saturday, 6 June 2020
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