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Seeing the World as a Network – Romain Tohouri

Romain - Lac Tanganyika – Burundi – December 2014Today we meet Romain Tohouri. Your chief challenge is to keep track of where he was, is, and will be.

The trail starts in 2002 in Bamako, Mali, where Romain completed his studies in medicine at the University of Bamako. After graduating, he started a company that specialized in eHealth and informatics and communications technology (ICT) for development. The company included an ICT training center for a variety of sectors – not just health. He and a friend also created a tele-radiology project that enabled clinicians in remote areas to send patient x-rays to radiologists in Bamako for reading and diagnosis. (Before we leave Bamako, let me just mention that this city figures prominently as a source of African music. An example is Dimanche a Bamako by Amadou and Mariam. I expect to hear this song in the hallways of MEASURE Evaluation in Chapel Hill as folks here play this clip.)

At a conference in Brussels in 2007, Romain met faculty from the University of Oslo and entered a PhD program with that university in 2009 (he is still working on this). At a WHO conference in Dakar, he met Leontine Gnassou, and she recruited him to work with MEASURE Evaluation and JSI on HMIS strengthening in Cote d’Ivoire starting in 2010. Then Ebola happened. In July of this year, Romain was placed in Liberia and embedded in the MOH to strengthen the resilience of their HIS in the face of epidemics like Ebola. When finished there, he will be located at the JSI offices in Arlington, Virginia.

Romain is originally from Cote d’Ivoire (you thought he was from Mali, right?) When not working, Romain loves to read, play with his children, work on his farm, go fishing, and simply enjoy nature. If you can find him, I hope you enjoy meeting Romain one day.


Seeing the World as a Network – Rob Allen

Rob_AllenToday we are meeting Rob Allen, who is part of our informatics team in the South Africa Associate Award.  Normally, I would take the information sent to me and fashion it into 2-3 paragraphs. In this instance Rob sent it already in that form, so I am going to just pass on to you what he sent to me. It will give you a bit of an insight into his skill at organizing thoughts and communicating clearly.


I was born and raised in the South West of England. Having always been interested in puzzles, and solving math problems, I studied mathematics at university and started training for an actuarial career before switching to software development. I took on a number of roles over the next few years including business analyst, system designer, DBA and project manager until I realized that my true interest lay in how information and communication networks can be used for civic empowerment. This was partly due to my experience of working on some of the earliest systems which linked the Internet with the mobile phone networks and partly due to a two-year voluntary service overseas (VSO) placement in South Africa which aimed to build the IT capacity of NGOs fighting the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

During that placement, I got married and decided stay in South Africa and when the placement ended I continued working with a number of NGOs on their IT projects. About this time, South Africa was experiencing an exponential increase in cell phone ownership and use, and a number of managers started asking how they could use cell phones in their work. This led to some successful proposals to funding organisations and we were able to implement some projects which added to an ever-growing list of mHealth pilot projects.

The MEASURE Evaluation Strategic Information for South Africa project was started soon after National Department of Health started to look into how it could coordinate mHealth in the country and bring projects to scale. As the mHealth/eHealth advisor for the project I have been fortunate to assist the National Department of Health to pull together its new mHealth Strategy. I have also been providing some support to the department’s MomConnect project which has registered over 500 000 pregnant women during the past year. MomConnect provides messaging and feedback channels which allow women to effectively monitor and report on their health service experience. The other impressive feature of MomConnect is that it has been built to be inter-operable with other initiatives, which opens many exciting ways that it can grow in the future.

Reading: Maternal Mortality, Human Rights and Accountability

Maternal Mortality, Human Rights and Accountability
Hunt, Paul and Tony Gray, editors. New York: Routledge, 2013

In context with the UN Human Rights Council maternal mortality and morbidity resolutions and Millennium Development Goal 5, this book identifies the human rights response to maternal mortality in relation to accountability. This includes monitoring, review, and redress at local, national, and international levels. The volume also contains conference papers and additional research publications that address the topic.

Webinar on Geospatial Analysis: Innovation in GIS for Better Decision Making

geospatial analysis gis webinar 740x300

Join MEASURE Evaluation December 10 at 10:00 am EST for a webinar on new techniques in geospatial analysis and how they have the potential to transform data-informed decision making. The webinar will be led by John Spencer, Senior GIS Technical Specialist for MEASURE Evaluation, and Mark Janko, Predoctoral Trainee with the Carolina Population Center and affiliated with UNC-Chapel Hill’s Departments of Biostatistics & Geography, Spatial Health Research Group, and MEASURE Evaluation.

Global expansion of mobile phones, portable and handheld computers, and internet access has revolutionized the global health sector’s ability to improve access to and synthesis of large amounts of information. Improved geospatial analysis tools and methodologies, coupled with the vast data resources now available, offer opportunities for health programs to better understand (in real time) how diseases are spread and where they cluster, how people move through space, where facilities are located, how the location of health resources affect health outcomes, the impact of transportation routes on service use, and many more issues.

The webinar presentation will cover:

  • Recent improvements in access to data
  • Increased availability of tools that allow people to see and process geospatial data
  • Promising analytical methods and the types of questions they answer
  • Next steps for the field

Register to attend the webinar.

Perspectives of Health Care Providers on the Provision of Intermittent Preventive Treatment in Pregnancy in Health Facilities in Malawi

Perspectives of Health Care Providers on the Provision of Intermittent Preventive Treatment in Pregnancy in Health Facilities in MalawiNearly 20 years after the adoption by the government of Malawi of the provision of intermittent preventive treatment in pregnancy (IPTp) for malaria, only 55% of pregnant women received at least two doses of sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) in 2010. Although several reasons for the low coverage have been suggested, few studies have examined the views of health care providers. This study examined the experiences of the nurses and midwives in providing antenatal care (ANC) services.

Learn more and access the article.

Developing Core Competencies for Monitoring and Evaluation Tracks in South Asian MPH Programs

Developing Core Competencies for Monitoring and Evaluation Tracks in South Asian MPH ProgramsMonitoring and evaluation (M&E) provides vital information for decision-making and its structures, systems and processes are expected to be integrated throughout the life-cycle of public health programs. The acquisition of these skills should be developed in a structured manner and needs educational systems to identify core competencies in M&E teaching. This article presents our work on harmonizing M&E competencies for Masters-level programs in the South Asian context and undertaking the global review of M&E track/concentration offered in various Masters of Public Health (MPH) programs.

Access the article.

A Rapid Assessment of Ebola-related Implications for RMNCH Service Delivery and Utilization in Guinea

A Rapid Assessment of Ebola-related Implications for RMNCH Service Delivery and Utilization in GuineaGuinea was ground zero for the 2014 outbreak of Ebola virus, and those infected suffered a mortality rate of 66% – higher than that of the other two West African countries also severely affected: Sierra Leone (32% mortality) and Liberia (45%). Health experts have been concerned that other critical health issues such as malaria, pneumonia, and typhoid, as well as routine care for maternal and child health, might go unattended due to closures of clinics, patients avoiding facilities for fear of contracting Ebola, or patients with Ebola‐like symptoms being turned away. To address this need, in 2015 MEASURE Evaluation conducted a rapid assessment to understand better the effects of Ebola on delivery and utilization of routine reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child health (RMNCH) services, described in this report.

Access the report, as well as a related journal article and commentary.


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