The IBM Health Corps, just arrived in Johannesburg, returning from the rural area.  The idea was to deep dive into South Africa’s Public Health System, was amazing.  It delineated to us, a complex network of services, facilities and stakeholders.

The hole travel was able to disclose, throughout the public health system, health workers’ visions, commitments, and a strong human spirit and will to face, and tackle, one challenge after another, in order to improve South African’s health and wellbeing.

IBM Health Corps’ team are honored with partnership with AHP and the opportunity to be here.

Living the dream – Zithulele rural hospital

IBM experts working with Africa Health Placements, using data to improve access and quality of heath care.  After our meeting with OR Tango District health authorities, we head to the Zithulele rural hospital, Wild Cost – South Africa.  Zithulele hospital is quite a great health facility,  The Clinical Manager, Dr Ben Gaunt, has received us and took us through the history and processes of the hospital.  The more a stay in South Africa and the more I admire it’s people.  Good people, hard workers, kind and committed to their country.  The experience was instructive and fulfilling, once we were able to improve our understanding of how health care facilities operate and how health systems must operate in an integrated way.

Journey to the country

We arrived at Umtata city.  In the local language it’s written MTHATHA.  Mthathat is a beautiful city 2h, by plane, from Joburg.  At the end of each they the team perform debriefing meeting and we prepare ourselves to the next day.  We put together all the information of the day.  Then we dinner and, before bad, we all attended the wellbeing sessions.

The Journey

I’ll try to tel a little about our journey here, 6 fellow IBMers, working to understand the context of South Africa Health system, its problems and gaps.  This is the kind of experience that changes you deeply.  The challenge is to improve HR health placement in rural areas using a WHO methodology called WISN.  WISN is anachronism for Workload Indicator of Staff Needs.  The methodology are suppose to help managers identifying HC gaps and prioritize it’s staffing.  I can see the use and strong positive impact of IBM’s CAMSS and Watson Health could bring to South Africans’ health and wellbeing.  What a privilege to participate on this pioneer effort, to built a smarter/cognitive health.

IBM Health Corps Johannesburg
Great team, great minds, amazing opportunity to make the difference, understanding South Africa Private and Public Health ecosystem, identifying solution for Optimization of the Allocation of Scarce Human Resources for Health.
African Health Placements (AHP) is a South African-based social profit organization working to address the extreme inequities in access to healthcare through human resource solutions. The organization’s mission targets health access for the most indigent, partnering governments, civil society and the private sector to do so. AHP defines itself as social profit because its work, while mostly donor-funded, delivers a profit measured in terms of improved healthcare and social indicators.
Where there are no health workers, there is no healthcare delivery.
Africa Health Placements (AHP) has developed a rational workforce planning model.
Such assessments have been conducted across 500 facilities over the past year. However, it is all paper-based with serious challenges around data quality, completeness.
So then, African Health Placements is seeking IBM’s help to provide analysis recommendations and tools to streamline data capture and data analysis to provide decision support and insights to clients (stakeholders) working in the Health HR, workforce planning and service delivery ecosystem in South Africa and beyond.
Regarding my personal experience, what I have to say is that It’s great to be part of it.  I also felt, extreme welcome by the team, my fellow IBMers, from IBM South Africa and AHP team.
South Africans are proud of their country, kind and receptive to foreigners.
The visited a local community, that was a great experience and moment that helped us better understand the context of the challenge.
More to come!!!

Wednesday 8th – Volunteer meetings plus a sneak preview of The Piece Hall

It was a pleasure and very informative for the members of our team to visit a Volunteering workshop and market-place in North Halifax on Wednesday 7th . Running at the Three Ways Centre, people interested in volunteering attended a workshop to understand more about volunteering, followed by a marketplace where they could meet and discuss specific volunteering opportunities with local organisations. This also presented an opportunity for groups to network, share experiences and discuss potential collaboration. Although one of the first focused events like this in the area, it was well-organised and well attended.

We also got an impromptu tour of the Three Ways Centre and the work that goes on there.

Other members of the team also met with volunteer organisations in the Town Hall. We are certainly impressed by the scale and scope of volunteering in Calderdale.

The whole team then had the opportunity to briefly visit the Piece Hall, where work continues to restore this amazing venue and square to be a base, for businesses, independent retailers, cafes and events. It looks like the project will provide the venue and facilities to enliven the town-centre and become not only a focus for business, leisure but also become a tourist destination. See:

Our thinking and discussion, continues deep into late evening

Saturday’s Fitbit Challenge

We took the whole fitness and wellbeing objective of this initiative to heart last Saturday … our fitbits can attest to a very active day!

Dave and Melissa joined over a hundred runners and volunteers for Halifax parkrun in Shrogg’s Park. It was incredible to see people of all ages turn out for the weekly 5k event. Melissa had the added bonus run up Stoodley Pike with Director of Communities, Robin Tuddenham. What an incredible place!!!

Meanwhile, team members set out to explore Hebden Bridge and Todmorden. Hebden Bridge is our home base for the three weeks. It is filled with cafes, restaurants, shops, and incredible scenery. Todmorden is a quick train stop away and the birthplace of Incredible Edible. Wish we had more time to really take advantage of everything this area has to offer!

For some collective team building, we headed to Leeds for dinner, a show, and of course some pub time watching England’s performance in the Rugby World Cup. Feeling as though we hadn’t registered quite enough active time by the end of the night, we decided to break into a full out team sprint through the streets of Leeds to catch the last train …. getting there just in time to wait for 20 minutes.

Great field research for our mission to help improve physical activity across Calderdale!