Intrahealth International | Knowledge Management Manager, USAID Regional Health Integration to Enhance Services in Eastern Uganda (USAID RHITES-E)
The Share Fair exemplified the EAC's readiness to use knowledge management to ensure better integration and improved health outcomes for all of its citizens. Photo: Nemuson Studios
If you have been engaged in global health work, you should know by now that knowledge management (KM) approaches have taken a central place in program implementation to improve health outcomes. While the practices are not new (in fact, they date back to old times, such as the Industrial Age, when knowledge was focused on machinery and human physical energy), the field has been growing. Knowledge once meant only accessing data and info, then developed into understanding gained from experience, analysis, and sharing. Now, knowledge management is more human centered and focused on around generating, capturing, sharing, and applying learning in order to achieve both customer satisfaction and innovation.
Plan International | Learning and Knowledge Management Advisor
Panel discussion on the state of knowledge management integration in reproductive, maternal, neonatal, child, and adolescent health (RMNCAH) and HIV. Photo: Nemuson Studios.
Two years ago (2016), I participated in the first East African Community (EAC) Share Fair in Arusha, Tanzania, organized by Knowledge for Health (K4Health). While it was the first, the enthusiasm that accompanied the participation from the member states and implementing partners indicated a path to adoption of knowledge management practices. Fast forward two years, and we were in Uganda to not only take stock, but also determine how individual countries would integrate knowledge management toward better reproductive, maternal, neonatal, child, adolescent health and HIV (RMNCAH & HIV) programming.
USAID Boresha Afya Program | Project Management and Communications Coordinator
Dr. Mashafi of USAID Boresha Afya – Southern Zone (Tanzania) poses a question to the panelists during the Share Fair. Photo: Nemuson Studios
The alarm rings at exactly 6:30am on 20 June 2018. It seems like I have only just blinked. A brand new day ushers in the beginning of the EAC Regional Share Fair. I yawn, then I stretch. Then I snooze for a couple more minutes before I get ready. The previous day’s trip to Uganda was quite exhausting. It is unfortunate we still do not have a direct flight to Entebbe from Dar es Salaam. (Private jet from USAID next time?)
We sometimes say that two heads are better than one. This usually happens after we have decided to collaborate or have determined that another perspective is needed. But when we share information, sometimes we do not acknowledge that what’s in our heads is different from what is in our listeners’ heads. This cognitive bias is often called the “curse of knowledge.”
The bias was illuminated through an experiment that centered on two groups of people: One group tapped out song rhythms, and a second group tried to guess the songs. After learning the song to tap, the tappers expected the listeners to be able to guess the songs more often than they actually did. The experiment shows that we wrongly assume that others know something that we know.
“[Family planning] guidelines might be outdated, not available or the providers might not adhere to the instructions in the guidelines. They might also lack training/mentoring to equip them with updated skills, knowledge and attitude which would have limited or prevented bias.” (Challenges family planning providers may encounter, reported by Olajumoke Onalopo, Netherlands)
Part of the HIFA Project on Family Planning and Contraception includes hosting thematic discussions on the HIFA email forum. Our first exchange, held throughout September-November 2017, addressed family planning myths and misconceptions. This time, we looked at ways to support family planning providers. We started by asking, "Just who are they?"
If asked, most people would probably respond that it’s “doctors and nurses” who provide family planning (FP) services. The second HIFA thematic discussion on family planning challenges this view and looks at the many different types of family planning providers and their needs. We learn that “those who provide FP advice and services are a complex, diverse group” (Sarah Harlan, USA).
The EAC Regional Share Fair will be held June 20-22 in Entebbe, Uganda. (Click to enlarge.)
The East African Community (EAC), like most other low- and middle-income regions, is grappling with a myriad of disease burdens ranging from common infections, nutritional challenges, and maternal mortality to non-communicable diseases to epidemics. Article 118 of the Treaty for the Establishment of the EAC calls for stronger regional cooperation on health among the partner states. Realization of this mandate requires effective management of the health sector knowledge resources.
The dynamic nature of the health sector presents a challenge: synthesis and sharing of knowledge among stakeholders and EAC partner states. Barriers include difficulties accessing information resources from both local and international sources and limited knowledge of and access to knowledge management tools and strategies.
The Demographic and Health Surveys Program, CCP and ICF | Communications Associate
In Ghana, mother and son, Mercy and Daniel, lie under the insecticide-treated net (ITN) they received to protect them from malaria. 2016 Sarah Hoibak/VectorWorks, Courtesy of Photoshare.
Malaria continues to pose a tremendous public health threat around the globe. An estimated 3.3 billion people, or 40% of the world’s population, live in areas of malaria risk. The investments made in vector control, malaria in pregnancy, and prompt diagnosis and treatment of malaria infections have resulted in many successes, but challenges remain. One of these challenges is the question of how to best measure the fight against malaria.
Decision makers in malaria-endemic settings need to understand available data to answer programmatic questions and make informed decisions. What proportion of households in a country or region have at least one insecticide-treated net (ITN)? What proportion of the population used an ITN last night? What proportion of women received at least three doses of sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) to prevent malaria during their last pregnancy? What proportion of children with fever had advice or treatment sought for them? What proportion of children age 6-59 months are infected with malaria?
Digital Storytelling for Change: The Art of the Interview
A new assessment of the impact of the global storytelling initiative Family Planning Voices shows that stories and storytelling have the potential to change health knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors. On June 7, 2018, K4Health and the International Youth Alliance on Family Planning (IYAFP) hosted a skills-building webinar to share key tips for capturing an essential story element—the interview—with a mobile phone.