What do Nanaimo, BC and Svalbard, Norway have in common? Well, they are both on islands for one. And that’s really where the similarities end. Except that Svalbard is home to the Global Seed Vault, and Nanaimo is home to a global vault of animal information called GAINS. A lame comparison I know, but it’s Saturday and drawing sexy analogies for information management systems is not an easy task.
This past week the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Global Animal Information Management System (GAINS) hosted the Information Management team from the USAID PREDICT project on their home turf in Nanaimo, BC. This annual meeting provides the various partners from PREDICT (GAINS, EcoHealth Alliance, HealthMap, PROMED, Yale, Praecipio International, HealthScapes aka Scapes, UC Davis, CEISIN, and GVFI) to get together and discuss the challenges of managing PREDICT’s information, data, and communications strategies – no easy task given the project’s current portfolio of 23 countries.
While discussions on information sensitivities, communications, and roles and responsibilities during outbreaks dominated the discussion due to the recent Ebola and Yellow Fever outbreaks in Uganda where PREDICT was involved, the meeting was productive in highlighting achievements made during PREDICT’s first year, and identifying opportunities and plans for greater data standardization and information management coordination.
Over the next few weeks, we will start to highlight some of our information management activities, from SMS-based data capture and communication technologies under development by GVFI, to HALI’s own local media surveillance program and its synergies with HealthMap.