I am back in Monrovia after a fantastic time with the MSB-personnel in Greenville. Yesterday, I contacted Hans Rosling that is working as an advisor for the Ministry of Health (MoH) here in Liberia. He invited me to come over to the team at MoH to learn about their work on ebola epidemiological surveillance . MoH is just 500 meters from the hotel were the MSB Liberia HQ is located, so it is just a short hop by car or a nice walk.
During the visit to Hans, I was introduced to Knut Staring (University of Oslo) that has arrived from Oslo to Monrovia as an expert of the health management information system (DIHS2) that is in use to monitor and analyze the ebola outbreak. DIHS has a long history and Knut and his colleagues at Oslo University have worked on various versions of this system for many years. When following Hans and Knut in their work at MoH, it was evident how many young, smart and ambitious people that work in the team. The atmosphere was similar to a start-up company with a high tempo, serious conversations in a positive attitude with lots of smiles and laughs. The picture shows Hans next to his visualization of the process for case management and contact tracing.
The visit to the team at MoH gave additional insights about the possibilities created when you combine ambitious people, organizing skills, domain expertise and technology use. I would argue that these aspects are important in all types of response work, since without them it will be very difficult to be able to adapt to changing conditions or having flexibility to make use of sudden opportunities. A designerly attitude is also very important, and I have often seen this attitude among the international response personnel and the Liberian personnel in both small scale situations as well as in larger and more complex situations.
Sadly, I will leave the MSB Ebola response team and Liberia on friday.