• Events
  • Sedick Isaacs Award seeks nominations

    Prof Sedick Isaacs was a founder member of the South African Medical Informatics Group, later the South African Health Informatics Association (SAHIA). He was SAHIA President, and President of the International Medical Informatics Association (IMIA) Health Informatics in Africa (HELINA) region.

    He was an anti-apartheid activist, member of the African National Congress, and imprisoned on Robben Island for 13 years. His ingenuity resulted in notoriety with officials when he was found in possession of a key that he’d fashioned to fit all the locks in the prison. I remember him most though for unlocking knowledge and for igniting a passion for health informatics with his fierce, dry humour and poignant anecdotes.

    It’s time for the 2014 nominations for the Sedick Isaacs Award. It recognises the lasting contribution to health and medical informatics in Africa by Dr Isaacs. The (IMIA) funds the award and administers it jointly with HELINA. The primary criterion for a Sedick Isaacs Award is to recognise “an individual whose personal commitment and dedication to medical informatics has made a lasting contribution to medicine and healthcare within Africa, through her or his achievements in research, education, development or application in the field of medical informatics.” The secondary criterion is that the person receiving the Award should live and work in Africa.

    The Award presentation is at the HELINA2014 conference in Accra, Ghana on 11-15 October 2014. The winner will have an opportunity to make a keynote presentation at a plenary of the HELINA conference. The Journal of Health Informatics in Africa will publish a version of the presentation.

    The Award does not have a monetary value, but IMIA will cover travel costs within Africa to the HELINA2014 conference. It will also pay for up to three nights’ accommodation at the conference.

    Nominations should be sent to the IMIA Office by email: imia@imia-services.org no later than 15 August, 2014.

    Sedick Isaacs image from International Film Festival of India.

  • Ugandan conference calls for more women in ICT

    Is it just me, or are the crowds of faces at African ICT events decidedly male? The question of gender inequality in ICTs in Africa generated intensive debate during the 9th eLeaning Conference in Kampala, Uganda last month.

    Uganda, like many African countries, is anxious to utilise ICT as a platform to achieve sustainable growth. It’s also keen to address gender equality in the ICT sector. A key theme at the conference from 28-30 May was interventions that would empower women in the ICT sector to help close the inequality gap.

    Goretti Amuriat from Women of Uganda Network explained that transforming education to become more learner-centred would help. “Girls need to be motivated to think critically in order for them to become innovative” she said. She believes that eLearning is a good place to start, since it can be flexible to the different needs, abilities and interests of learners regardless of their gender.

    eLearning is a big topic, and the critical shortage of ICT skills in Africa may be the first hurdle for eLearning to cross. Leaders like Amuriat will be helpful in at least two ways: to move eLearning forward and to ensure that before too long, conference crowds have a more feminine face.

  • Free ICT event for some

    It’s not often a free event comes along. On 2-3 April 2014, African Information Technology Exhibitions and Conferences (AITEC) hosts its Southern Africa ICT Summit in Maputo, Mozambique. It’s a conference and exhibition, and extends well beyond a healthcare focus. ICT professionals based in Southern Africa, which seems to be the Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries, can attend free. For a conference pass, apply by emailing your name, job title, company, mobile and email address to info@aitecafrica.com  , and enter “Mozambique VIP delegate pass” in the subject bar. More information about the event and AITEC is available from http://aitecafrica.com/.

  • Cyber-security conference in Kenya

    With cyber-security’s rampant rise up the list of ICT priorities, Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) ICT Security Africa has its fourth summit and roundtable on 8 to 11 April in Mombasa, Kenya. MIS Training, the global ICT security training firm, is behind the initiative.

    The theme is Integrated Security to Protect Information and Technology Assets in Business and Government. The programme includes:

    Cyber Crime Africa Threat Landscape and Security Intelligence Information  Security Risk and Governance Africa ICT Security Africa Think Tank – Cyber Attack – Lessons Learnt and Experiences Shared on the Anatomy of a Security Breach: A Response Guide for Africa Big 3 – Cloud, Big Data, Social Networking Network and Application Security FinSec – Cyber Security for Banks Interactive Benchmarking Clinics – Developing Information Security Professionals in Africa ICT Security Africa Roundtable Digital Forensics and Investigations Clinic

    Registration is open and MIS Training’s secured site.

  • Northern lights, Southern glow

    Last week I was surrounded by ice and snow at the Arctic Light eHealth Conference (ALEC) in Kiruna, Sweden. This included a visit to the Ice Hotel, possibly one of the least African places on earth, renewable architecture in its purest form, rebuilt every autumn to melt down completely every spring. So, I was a little surprised when issues encountered daily in my African eHealth work – trust, privacy, organisational change, patient participation and leadership – were the hot topics at this eHealth conference in Europe’s icy arctic north.

    Of course I shouldn’t have been surprised. These are key topics for all eHealth initiatives, through the full decade-plus cycle from inception to full-scale implementation and ultimately reinvestment and renewal. When handled well, they are success criteria, as shown by tinTree’s economic evaluation model that analyses common success factors across 59 initiatives in 26 countries. They support progress of more conventional topics such as interoperability, affordability, security and regulatory readiness providing support or, when absent, stalling progress.

    “eHealth is possible!” said ALEC host Agneta Granström, the Assembly of European Regions (AER) e-He@lth Network President and County Commissioner of Norrbotten. “It does provide more comfort, safety and a better link with caregivers. Now we need regional decision-makers to keep this momentum and engage in dialogue both within their regions and at interregional and national level to roll out e-health.”

    ALEC welcomed a who’s-who of European eHealth enthusiasts, mixed with unique local flavour of a thriving mining town and proud Sami community. Participants agreed that ICT innovations have provided enormous opportunities so that technology is no longer the key issue. People are, and the way they organise themselves. “The key issue is trust” said Estonia’s president Toomas Hendrik Ilves in his opening address. “Improving Healthcare is not about technology but about how we use information”.

    AER President Hande Özsan Bozatli echoed the sentiment in a closing address appropriate for most African eHealth implementers. “E-health is not [only] about technology” she said, “but about empowering the patients and generating more social and territorial cohesion.” 

    This week I’m back under the African sun. It’s warm, of course. So is the sense that a number of African countries are on track, dealing with the important issues necessary to make progress and well positioned to share lessons learned with colleagues globally.

    Read more about ALEC on twitter #ALEC and #ALEC2014.

  • WoHIT 2014: Nice is nice in April

    April 2 to 4 is the Health Information and Management Systems Society Europe (HIMSS) World of Health IT (WoHIT) Conference in Nice. Some of the main themes are:

    eHealth with benefits: documenting clinical and financial returns

    Hospital 2.0: the next generation hospital Introducing the HIMSS Continuity Care Maturity Model (CCMM) Personalized Health: the real benefit of eHealth. The mHealth Summit Europe

    eHealth with benefits is a discussion on how to improve healthcare safety and quality for patients and the facility to access healthcare everywhere. With the emphasis on clinical and financial returns, it is difficult to see how these themes link up. Patients’ benefits include socio-economic factors, which are more than clinical or financial.

    The CCMM is a joint development by HIMSS and Nordic Hospitals. It includes ways to achieve interoperability in community health services.

  • Med-e-Tel 2014

    The diary dates for this year’s Med-e-Tel conference are 9 to 11 April. Luxemburg is the venue. Topics include telehealth for chronic disease management, telehealth service standards, telenursing, eLearning, open source in healthcare, eHealth in low resource settings and a symposium on global eHealth strategies.

    The International Society for Telemedicine and eHealth (ISfTeH) organizes Med-e-Tel. More information is at info@medetel.eu.

  • Cyber security and data across mobiles top the priority list at AITEC

    Two dominant priorities for 2014 are cyber security and data transactions using mobiles. This is the view of the African Information Technology Exhibitions and Conferences’ (AITEC).

    AITEC points out that the African Union Convention on Cyber Security (AUCC) to be voted on in January, proposes “establishing a credible framework for cyber security in Africa through organisation of electronic transactions, protection of personal data, promotion of cyber security, e-governance and combating cybercrime.” The proposal has some critics.

    There are several AITEC conferences planned for 2014:

    Banking & Mobile Money Conferences in Lagos on 12-13 March, Accra on 9-10 July and Nairobi on 10-11 September. AITEC with Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) Information Security East Africa conference in Nairobi on 8-9 May.

    Data demand is seen as continuing to exceed voice as Africa’s mobile connections multiply apace. Mobile banking, social media, VOIP and mobile broadcasting are combining to create large-scale bandwidth demands. Policy-makers and operators will explore opportunities for collaboration and shared infrastructure.

    eHealth initiatives need to take advantage of these themes.

  • Cyber security conference for Africa in Nairobi this year

    After the success of last years’ East Africa IT & Cyber Security Convention, which attracted more than 300 people, the event for heads of ICT and security will this year be hosted in Nairobi Kenya from 28 to- 29 November

    The conference theme is “Navigating Cyber Security Threats.” It emphasizes the increasing importance of ICT security in today’s world, and exposes the region and the ICT sector to the new and emerging threats and vulnerabilities. Cyber security is becoming an essential cost that outweighs the cost of attack. Even home users try to protect themselves from it.

    The conference brings together leading cyber and ICT security experts who will provide key insights into cyber security issues surrounding cyber networks, mobile, and IT infrastructures. Cyber-crime issues such as security and resilience are critical and need addressing rigorously. The event aims to enhance participants’ understanding of the current issues and comprehensive range of possible solutions.

    eHealth News Africa has reported extensively on the cyber threats and cyber security and is monitoring developments and incidents from global sources. It is encouraging to see the continuous support for the Convention.

  • CTO Forum set for Nigeria

    This year’s 11th annual CTO Forum 2013 will be hosted by the Nigerian Telecommunications Commission on behalf of the Nigerian Government in Abuja from the 7 – 9 October.

    The event is the official flagship of the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO) and offers regional and international solutions for those in Commonwealth regions. The goal is set out in the forum’s “sharing knowledge, lessons learnt and key information about technological advances across the Commonwealth and beyond.”

    The forum brings together Ministers, Senior Officials, Regulators, Universal Service Fund Administrators, Operators and Vendors. The key speakers will be Nigeria’s Minister of Communications Technology, Omobola Johnson, the EVC of the NCC, Dr Eugene Juwah and Professor Tim Unwin, Secretary-General of the CTO.

    This year’s conference theme is, ‘Innovation through broadband’. It will provide critical updates and insight into infrastructure, security and application challenges. The program includes sessions and workshops focused on issues such as:

    Future networks and their Infrastructure development and enabling business Internet and cybersecurity and developing protocol and ensuring resilience Beyond social media, from likes to learning Cloud infrastructure development, security concerns and data management Broadband as an enabler for women, young people and entrepreneurs.

    These themes also have a place in eHealth for African countries.