“I’m a Health Worker”: Dr. Arturo Carrillo

Dr. Arturo Carrillo wants to end discrimination and stigmatization of people living with HIV in his home country of El Salvador.

“Very often people disrespect the basic human rights of this population,” he says.

He’s an HIV expert for the National STI/HIV/AIDS Program for the Ministry of Health. As part of his job, he educates people on key issues, including sexual diversity.

“Each and every one of us has to understand that while people may be different, under the law we are all equal,” Dr. Carrillo says. “And that is extremely important.”

Like other countries in Central America, El Salvador’s HIV epidemic is concentrated in specific groups—HIV prevalence among sex workers is 5.7%, among men who have sex with men it’s 10.8%, and among transgender women it’s 25.8%. But widespread unfamiliarity with HIV, stigma, limited access to health care, poverty, and migration all make the country and the region vulnerable to a growing HIV epidemic. Read more »

A West African Perspective on Open Source

Growing up in Nigeria, Kayode Odusote liked figuring out how things work. As a young boy, he would often purchase Radio Shack do-it-yourself kits and assemble them.

Years later he became a neurologist and professor, and more recently served as director for human resources development at the West African Health Organization (WAHO). WAHO is an umbrella organization of 15 member countries, and one of Professor Odusote’s key aims was to help these countries gather and use health worker data to inform their decisions. But this wasn’t easy. “We found that none of them had the kind of human resources information system that they could use for planning,” he recalls.

Working with limited resources, he wanted to avoid installing systems that relied on proprietary software, which entails various fees for licensing, upgrades, and customization. “With proprietary products,” he explains, “the vendor controls the costs.” He has stories of proprietary applications developed by vendors in Burkina Faso and Togo; the computers they were built for became outdated and the applications could not be updated to match current operating systems of new, donated computers. They became useless.
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iHRIS and eLearning: A New Direction for Capacity-Building

Carol BalesKabelo Bitsang, iHRIS administrator for the Botswana Ministry of Health, learned to maintain and customize the iHRIS software through studying documentation online, working with CapacityPlus developers both in-country and remotely, and attending a training in Ghana. He came from a Microsoft Windows background and learned to work in a Linux environment, the required operating system for iHRIS. “I mostly learned from trial and error and just asking as many questions as possible,” he noted in a recent interview.

Many countries, like Botswana, are adopting CapacityPlus’s Open Source iHRIS Manage and iHRIS Qualify software and have successfully modified the software to meet their specific needs. Read more »

“With Technical Support You Learn to Fish”

Sarah DwyerWorking on the CapacityPlus project, I’m always excited to see capacity-building in action and hear how local leaders are strengthening the health workforce. Recently I learned about a terrific story from West Africa and wanted to help share it.

Building local ability to gather and use data
At the Health Information System Unconference in Accra, CapacityPlus’s Dykki Settle interviewed Kayode Odusote of the West African Health Organization (WAHO). Professor Odusote is helping WAHO’s member countries gather and use health worker data to make decisions about the health workforce.

In this piece from the CapacityPlus Voices series, Professor Odusote talks about a successful pilot in Ghana using iHRIS software. He emphasizes that the capacity-building aspect of WAHO’s partnership with our project is really what he values. “It’s a technical partnership,” he points out, “and basically for me that is much more than money. If you can build a core nucleus of local capacity,” he says, that has everything to do with sustainability. Read more »

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