Adapting New Technologies for Humanitarian Aid
Responding to medical humanitarian crises is filled with a variety of obstacles. Constraints like limited time for aid workers, uneven staff education, lousy internet and mobile phone access, as well as the frantic pace of emergency response have made aid organizations reluctant to introduce technological innovations into their practice. This panel will explore how two international aid organizations collaborated with technology companies to adapt new technologies to field conditions. In on instance, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) teamed up with Google on a spatial mapping project to better understand the cholera epidemic in Haiti in 2010. In another program, Women and Health Alliance (WAHA) are teaming up with the mobile phone carrier Expresso and Microsoft’s HealthVault in Senegal to adapt electronic medical record system to SMS. The discussion will address how the programs were implemented, how cultural differences were bridged, and what lessons were learned.
Ivan Gayton is a Canadian former tree-planter who has been working with Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) since 2003 as a logistician, project coordinator, and head of mission. He has worked in Burundi, Darfur (Sudan), the Central African Republic, Chad, Pakistan, Haiti, Libya, Tunisia, Nigeria, and a few other contexts. He is also a mapping nerd who idolized Dr. John Snow, and is convinced that mapping technology is poised to revolutionize emergency medical care in the developing world, disaster areas, and conflict zones.
Kate has worked for 15 years in the non profit sector: on human rights, conflict resolution and humanitarian aid in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Her expertise ranges from managing aid projects, to conflict mediation, crisis management and working on communications and media relations.
In 2010 Kate joined WAHA International as head of communications and as program officer to provide support to WAHA's projects. This includes following up on projects where mobile phone technology is used to help improve health services for patients in rural African settings.
Pablo has worked at Google since 2006 and helped start Google.org's Crisis Response team after the Haiti earthquake of 2010. Pablo currently works on web search and continues humanitarian volunteering in his personal time.