Daily Archives: July 28, 2010

Guest post from “the field”

One cool program here at IHME is the field placements for our Post-Bachelors Fellows. This is a roughly 6 week stint during the summer of their second year here where they travel from Seattle to some distant place, to see where the numbers we’ve been crunching come from. Kyle Foreman is in Sri Lanka doing this now, and here is a guest post he’s written about an ICT4D challenge he’s seeing that he wants your ideas on:

I’m spending this summer in Sri Lanka working with the Ministry of Health and the community health department of the University of Peradeniya, observing how Sri Lanka’s medical record keeping and vital statistics system works. They’d like for me to make some suggestions on how it could be improved, so I was hoping to get some feedback on how to make this work.

Here’s the problem: keeping track of something as simple as the number of people who die each year is very difficult here. Patient records are kept at each hospital, then they are tabulated and sent to a regional office, then tabulated at a district office, ad nauseam, until they finally reach the national level. It takes literally years (they just finished the 2006 returns), is full of errors (because they do it all by hand), and is very incomplete (because every step along the way there’s further tabulation which strips away valuable data). They thus have difficulty identifying problems (especially outbreaks), targeting resources, and assessing the outcomes of their efforts. Continue reading


Filed under global health

Big Week for Healthy Algorithms Posts

I’ve been in meetings literally all day, but I’ve got so much to say that I’m still here… this is a newsletter that IHME put out yesterday, and it’s got me in the front cover photo. How can I pass up announcing that? It’s mostly for my mom, but PyMC fans might also appreciate the shoutout I managed to Anand Patil, who authored the PyMC Gaussian Process package that I’ve been urging people to use lately.


Filed under general