Tag Archives: public sector

Searching for Better Ways to Mobilize Knowledge

Experts meeting at the United Nations University in Canada this week hope to help find ways to “better mobilize knowledge and maximize its usefulness.”

An international conference is being hosted this week by the Canada-based United Nations University – Institute for Water, Environment and Health. The focus of the 60 experts from 20 countries: “How to better mobilize knowledge and maximize its usefulness.”

Worldwide, billions of dollars are spent each year to help advance knowledge of interest for the public good. Too often, however, those who could benefit, including policy makers and the general public, never learn about much of the information.

Policymakers in developed and developing countries alike are hampered by the need to respond rapidly to pressing concerns, and rely on the actions of intermediaries to help them interpret complex information. Both in developed and developing countries, intermediaries broker knowledge into policy and practice. Working with civil society organisations, NGOs, the private sector and academia, these intermediaries help ensure that the best available knowledge is used to make effective policies.”

—Louise Shaxson, a Research Fellow at the UK’s Overseas Development Institute, and Vice-Chair of the Conference

The following are some of the challenges the attendees hope to address:

  • Practitioners in one sector unaware of relevant work going on elsewhere
  • International donors who find it difficult to assess the policy impact of their research funding
  • Policymakers who need access to authoritative resources for decision-making

The event program is online at http://bit.ly/InPyHQ and proceedings may be followed live online (for instructions: http://bit.ly/IVpw1r)

Learn more at http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2012-04/unu-fit041712.php

© Tony Leininger and IT for Good 2012. See sidebar for full copyright notice.


Using Smartphones to Track Diseases Trims Time, Costs, Mistakes

stacks-o-paperWorking with the Kenya Ministry of Health, researchers for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have demonstrated the potential for smartphone-based questionnaires to replace paper-based ones for gathering information about diseases.

The researchers found that, after initial setup, using smartphones was less costly than paper-based methods, and the data collected using smartphones had fewer errors.

Collecting data using smartphones has improved the quality of our data and given us a faster turnaround time to work with it. It also helped us save on the use of paper and other limited resources.”

— Henry Njuguna, M.D., sentinel surveillance coordinator, CDC Kenya

While some of the survey questions were mandatory, on 5 percent of the paper questionnaires some were omitted; however, only 3 percent of the smartphone surveys were incomplete. Duplicate patient ID numbers appeared in 7 paper-based questionnaires but in none of the smartphone-based surveys.

In addition, unlike the paper-based data, the smartphone data was uploaded to a database within hours rather than weeks.

Explore further at http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2012-03/asfm-sma030912.php

© Tony Leininger and IT for Good 2012. See sidebar for full copyright notice.