PUL, UNDP host Social Good Summit

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The United Nations Development Program-Liberia in collaboration with the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) will host its first Social Good Summit to highlight the ways in which new technology was harnessed to help tackle the Ebola outbreak in some of the country’s most disadvantaged communities.
The Social Good Summit will explore how technology is being used for social good around the world. The global theme, #2030NOW, asks the question, “What type of world do I want to live in by the year 2030?” During the summit, global citizens around the world unite to unlock the potential of technology to make the world a better place.
Dr. Mosoka Fallah will lead a panel on technology and public health in Monrovia on September 28th, 10:00am, at the West Point Administration Building to discuss how technology was used to collect and share Ebola related data.
During the peak of the Ebola crisis, Dr. Fallah was one of the few people to venture into the labyrinthine alleys of West Point at a time when the outbreak appeared to be spreading exponentially and there were not nearly enough treatment unit beds to meet demand.
He knew that re-gaining the people’s trust was crucial if Liberia were to have any chance of containing the outbreak. His public health background meant he understood the importance of setting up surveillance teams and contact tracing despite what seemed like overwhelming odds in the early days.
Building on a technique that was used during the Liberian civil war, he divided communities like West Point, into zones to help ensure that everybody received food and other vital supplies. He also recruited hundreds of volunteers to act as surveillance teams and case finders.
Impressed by his efforts to organize a community response, UNDP Liberia secured funding to employ 5,000 Active Case Finders (ACFs) to scour Montserrado County, which encompasses Monrovia and its outskirts, for people showing signs and symptoms of the disease. The ACFs were drawn from the local community, so they spoke the local dialect and were trusted.
“It is essential to build trust in the community,” explained Dr. Fallah, “With no trust, no one will give information and it is impossible to trace contacts. Communities that are adequately empowered can engage in a surprisingly effective fight against Ebola or any other public health fight.”
On the sidelines of this event, is the build up to the adoption of the new development agenda, “Transforming Our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Science, Technology and Innovations (STIs) are at the heart beat of the new development goals. To the extent, a major achievement of the recently adopted Addis Ababa Action Agenda (AAAA), an outcome of the 3rd International Conference on Financing for Development, is Technology Facilitation Mechanism (TFM), which is expected to be launched on 26 September.
This has been widely recognized as one of the more substantial outcomes. The mechanism, which will encourage the development, dissemination and diffusion and transfer of environmentally sound technologies to developing countries, is designed to support all the SDGs and will include an online global platform to bring together STI best practices.
The Social Good Summit in Liberia will also be used as opportunity for experts to expand on Liberia’s domestication of the SDGs and the Common Africa Position. Participants are drawn from the government, media, communities, as well as academic and technical institutions.

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