The UBC Ebola Action Network Fund coordinated by the Neglected Global Diseases Initiative has provide seed funding to a student-led communications project called “Just Meshin’ Around”.
The Biomedical Engineering Student Team (BEST) has been busy working on a project to develop through contacts they made in the UBC Ebola Action Network. They have been in contact with several healthcare workers, including physicians, the World Health Organization (WHO) and Médecins Sans Frontiéres (MSF) personnel, involved on the frontlines of the Ebola crisis in Sierra Leone, Guinea, Mali and Liberia. Through their contact’s first-hand experiences, the group was able to identify several areas that need attention in the response to Ebola, and provide a proof-of-principal, tangible solution to one of them. They have proposed a mesh-based electronic medical reporting system to allow the digital collection, and storing of patient progress without the need for complex infrastructure, cellular network, or internet/Wi‐Fi access.
The UBC Ebola Action Network Fund provided start-up funds of $1,000.00 for this project. This will provide an earlier starting date for the project as needs in the Ebola endemic countries are still strong. While this proof-of-principal project may not reach the field in time for this outbreak, this is a network that can be utilized for many other purposes in developing countries. Several BEST students were on hand to accept the cheque and the proposal was written by: Marcus Cheung, Marysia Gryzbowski, Tricia Jose, Riley Marsh, Andrea Marshall, Tina Saad, and Elizabeth Wicks.
The NGDI has a strong track record of mobilizing knowledge to help effective disease interventions reach the field, and acting as an information resource for the UBC community and beyond. The lessons learned from Ebola will help the NGDI respond to future epidemics. The information gathered by the Ebola Action Network will be an invaluable research tool to help our future planning.
The presentation occurred during a shared Open House on Friday, January 9, 2015 at the VCH Research Pavilion. Dr. Richard Lester has completed the set up his global health research program on the fifth floor. Three offices including the one large student office pictured below are part of the group. Richard has also taken on the Directorship of the Neglected Global Diseases Initiative and the office for Coordinator, Jocelyn Conway has a separate office (room 564) on the same floor.