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Join Us at the Global Digital Health Forum 2020 - Dimagi

This year, the Global Digital Health Forum is going to be a little different. But what you can count on is that Dimagi will be well represented. This year’s Forum will see eight members of Dimagi’s team in nine sessions on a wide range of digital health topics. 

There’s still time to register here to come learn how digital tools are shaping the landscape of healthcare around the world.

Here are the sessions we’ll be participating in this year:

The Next Phase of Digital Development? Market Shaping [link] – Jonathan Jackson, CEO & Mohini Bhavsar, Senior Business Development Director

The impact from digital health solutions is realized not by getting to scale — but from sustaining and improving on that solution once at scale. Yet, despite this truth there is currently low appetite for pricing the ongoing support and maintenance of a deployed Global Good at scale. Multi-million dollar investments are made in the initial implementation of a CHIS, with no expectation that the market will function to support the system down the line. This void diminishes the potential of digital technology to support health interventions. 

During this session, UNICEF will talk about its approach to supporting governments to design sustainable business models for digital health investment cases. The Global Fund will speak to why digital health is one of the 10 guiding principles for investing in Building Resilient and Sustainable Systems for Health (RSSH). And finally, Jon and Mohini will share how Dimagi has experienced this market failing, shed insights from our work on one of the largest digital health projects in the world, and how we can learn from the software industry to create a positive, value-driven revenue model.

Jon and Mohini will be joined by Steven Ramdsen, Chief Information Security Officer at The Global Fund, and Dr Karin Källander, Senior Health Specialist and Digital Health Lead at UNICEF.

No One Else Is Coming: How COVID-19 Proved the Real Value of Global Goods [link] – Clayton Sims, Dimagi CTO Clayton Sims 

When COVID-19 hit, it lay bare an underlying truth: tools originally developed and funded by the ICT4D industry were all suddenly, unexpectedly, and critically unique and important. Not just in LMICs, but everywhere. If there was any question before that whether sustainability is the most critical challenge to our industry, COVID-19 put those questions to rest. We saw definitively that the value of these tools is significantly broader than the markets where they originated.

In this lightning talk, Clayton will share Dimagi’s experience adapting CommCare for COVID-19 response efforts in the United States and propose a critical reframing of Digital Development’s technology infrastructure as a true, sustained Global Good to everyone – not just in LMICs.

Where are we now? Digital Health for Nutrition Service Delivery: A 2020 Overview [link] – Neelima Dhingra, Project Director

USAID Advancing Nutrition, USAID’s flagship multi-sectoral nutrition project, seeks to improve the coverage and quality of nutrition services at the facility and community level through the health system. Recognizing the important role that digital tools can play, we conducted a landscape assessment of interventions in the last five years designed to strengthen nutrition service delivery through digital tools for healthcare providers in LMICs. 

Neelima will be joined by Allyson Nelson, Program Manager at D-tree International, Leona Rosenblum, Deputy Director at John Snow Inc.’s Center for Digital Health, and Sandrine Busière, Health Regional Manager for Africa at Terre des hommes.

Designing a multi-country, locally relevant financial education application to boost youth entrepreneurship and reduce unemployment in West Africa [link] – Khady Ndir, Senior Partnership and Business Development Manager & Codou Ndiaye, Project Manager

In an era in which digital finance and innovation are rapidly evolving, technology is an efficient channel to deliver training that can complement offers from Financial Services Providers (FSPs). In 2018, Dimagi partnered with the United Nations Capital Development Funds (UNCDF) YouthStart regional program, whose objective is to support scaling up of digital innovations enabling youth by giving them further training. We elaborated a market system approach, to encourage FSPs in five West African countries – The Gambia, Guinea, Ghana, Niger and Senegal – to be more inclusive to young people.

In this session, Khady will talk through the program’s objectives and the applications we built with UNCDF.

A Partnership for COVID-19 Apps for Frontline Health Workers [link] – Neal Lesh, Chief Strategy Officer

In this session, Medic Mobile and Dimagi will describe their efforts to work together to provide digital solutions to organizations responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the last decade, our two organizations have each developed and scaled digital platforms for frontline health workers but have rarely worked together. In the context of COVID-19, both organizations quickly shifted to help other partners respond to the pandemic earlier this year. Each organization developed a similar suite of digital tools to support contact tracing, port of entry screening, and other important components of the pandemic response. In May 2020, with funding from Rockefeller Foundation, Medic Mobile and Dimagi began working together to align our COVID-19 response, and collaborate on shared app designs, data models, and visualizations for frontline health workers. 

In this talk, Dimagi and Medic will jointly present the benefits, challenges, and lessons learned from this ongoing partnership. We will reflect on the substantial effort required to align our teams in order to foster the collaboration – made more challenging given the intense work each of our teams was already doing to address the pandemic.

Neal will be joined by Isaac Holeman, Chief of Research & Learning at Medic Mobile.

Journey to Scale: Digital health solutions in Francophone countries [link] – Mohini Bhavsar, Senior Business Development Director

Digital health programs have demonstrated improvements in health service delivery and program management. However, we often see successful pilots struggle to make the leap to scale their programs. In 2015, Dimagi received catalyst funding from Grand Challenges Canada to grow the capacity of digital health programs in Francophone Africa, at a time when this region was still at its nascent stage of adopting technology in significant ways. Over the years, Dimagi and its earliest partners in the region have gathered lots of experience on what it takes to overcome these barriers. 

In this session, Mohini will moderate a panel of partners, including Gorgui Diallo, Country Director for Africare Senegal, Florian Triclin, Technical Coordinator for Africa at Terre des hommes, and Stephanie Ranaivo, Director, Health Technologies – USAID ACCESS

Hosting your infrastructure locally and the true cost of “sustainability” [link] – Clayton Sims, CTO

There has been a dramatic increase in official policies and procedures governing digital health implementation over the last five years. These eHealth policies and roadmaps are critical to aligning digital health implementation with government expectations for the privacy and security of their constituents’ data. While these national policies have given important structure to data governance, they have also produced a major challenge that threatens to undermine the security and sustainability of digital health interventions.

This session will expose some of the little-known obstacles technical implementers have faced with local hosting including exorbitant pricing schemes, out of date data center software infrastructure, as well as the major underlying security risks to sensitive health data. 

Clayton will be joined by Ian Webster, CTO and Co-Founder of Zenysis Technologies and Alexandra Grigore, Chief Product Officer at Simprints.

Digital Health Technologies to Support Frontline Health Workers During COVID-19 Response [link] – Neal Lesh, Chief Strategy Officer

Frontline health workers (FLHWs) are the heart of primary and community health systems. This panel – moderated by the Johnson & Johnson Center for Health Worker Innovation – showcases three digital solutions to address the needs of FLHWs responding to COVID-19. By leveraging existing platforms and partnerships, all have achieved notable scale while working to strengthen health systems for the long-term.

This session will cover how UNICEF approaches e-learning platforms, how the World Continuing Education Alliance supplied urgent information on COVID-19 to FLWs, and how our contact tracing solutions can promote high-functioning teams when health systems are overburdened.

Dr. Joanne Peter, Director, Social Innovation at Johnson & Johnson, will moderate this panel, which also includes Dr. Karin Källander, Senior Health Specialist and Digital Health Lead at UNICEF and Craig Fitzpatrick, Director of the World Continuing Education Alliance.

The Pivot to a Digital Dogfight in the Battle to Defeat COVID-19 [link] – Carter Powers, COO

As the battle to defeat COVID-19 rages on, IiH innovators are pivoting their digital platforms to take part in a dogfight between the disease and boots on the ground, governments, medical facilities, and patients in their homes. There is a proliferation of web-based surveys and decision aids, mobile apps, and chatbots aimed at symptom-based health assessment and triage, contact tracing, testing and outbreak tracking, patient demographics and other data collection. These tools seek to predict the course of the epidemic and demands on health and healthcare systems. 

Carter will be joined on this panel by Kim Brearly, CFO of THINKMD, and Brad Cunningham, COO of SystemOne. Both organizations have also screening and tracing tools for COVID-19 in countries around the world.

For more information on Dimagi’s presentations and presence at the 2020 Global Digital Health Forum, please reach out to



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