Friday, 1 January 2016

Ending the Sierra Leone Ebola epidemic with Open Source software developers

So how did they do it?   by solving the payroll issue of distributing wages to healthcare workers.

Emerson Tan from NetHope, a consortium of NGOs working in IT,  mentions the story at the Chaos Communications Congress in Hamburg, Germany.

Healthcare workers on the frontline fighting the epidemic didn't get paid for months.    So when healthcare workers went on strike, Ebola patients in hospitals broke out in search of food, exacerbating the spread of the disease.

Also the country’s central bank at one point were going to run out of currency notes. On top of those problems, there were only 8 ATMs in the country.

To solve the issue, Massally and his team drew on existing open source software solutions for payroll management, biometrics, logistics and accounting.  They came up with a mobile money system, that substituted cellphone-minutes for cash, and created an automated payment system.    The core system was built in two weeks.  People’s faith in the healthcare system was restored.

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