Support our work with HITA Christmas Gifts & HITA Calendars

December 20, 2020 in Allgemein, Projekte, Verein by guenther_michels

Dear club members, friends and interested people,

 

an unusual year is behind us all. In Germany and all over the world. The Corona Pandemic has turned all plans upside down, whether in the private or professional environment, or at HITA e. V. . Our working trip at the turn of the year was the unique opportunity to work together with our partners in the Volta region/Ghana to achieve our goals locally. In addition to setting up several computer workrooms, so-called computer labs, we were able to initiate a school partnership in the city of Ho (Volta-region/Ghana), as well as providing direct assistance in the form of hospital equipment and distributing school supplies to schoolgirls from needy families.

 

Also around the turn of last year, we were able to organize a video conference from the Ghanaian hinterland with a university in Germany. A concept that is promising and that HITA e. V. would like to intensify in the coming period: The exchange between learners, teachers and experts from different parts of the world and the joint work on projects for the use of modern communication and IT possibilities for the sustainable improvement of health care in rural areas of Sub-Saharan Africa.

 

In Ghana, Covid-19 has shown above all effects on public and social life. In addition to the spread of false information, the population has felt, among other things, an increase in the price of hygiene products. Thus HITA e. V. in one of the many videoconferences with partners in Ghana reported that young women in particular are suffering from the price explosion. Pupils of the HITA partner school “Mawuko Girls Senior High School” are thus restricted in their freedom especially during their period. HITA members have provided a small direct help for these students by means of privately sent hygiene packages. To the delight of the donors, the parcels arrived reliably in Ghana. Information about Covid-19 in Ghana can be found on our homepage www.hita-ev.org .

 

Due to the Corona situation, but also due to personal challenges among the active HITA members, it was not possible to tackle as many projects and initiatives this year as originally planned. All the more important is the confidence to envisage larger, long-term and sustainable actions again in the coming year.

 

The HITA Executive Board is looking forward to your cooperation. Whether in the area of project management, communication or the search for further funding opportunities – everyone can get involved.

 

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HITA – Calendar 2021
Here you will find a calendar for the year 2021: HITA – Calendar. On this calendar you can find both the German and the Ghanaian holidays. If a printout from your local printer is not enough for you, you can order one or more large stable copies of the calendar at home: At the cost of approx. 6 Euro for shipping is added 2 € per calendar copy: we will gladly send you a shipment with calendars (DinA 1 format) for an expense allowance of 16 €. Please contact Daniel Gerlach (daniel. gerlach@hita-ev. org). Short-term enquiries will be sent by 28. 12. , so that the calendars reach you as far as possible by the turn of the year.

 

HITA – Christmas Gifts
Are you still looking for a meaningful Christmas gift? Give your loved ones a meaningful gift together with HITA e. V. Whether a donation for a hygiene package to our partner school, a donation for the equipment of an IT workstation at a partner school in Africa or a HITA membership, you can give joy several times over – even “last minute”. Take advantage of the opportunities and register by 12/23. at HITA e. V. and you will receive your certificate by 12/24. emailed to you! Christmas gifts: IT-Package  -  Hygiene-Package  -  Membership

 

. . . and also, if you buy gifts elsewhere, you can buy HITA e. V. support. Search your online retailer for Healthcare IT for Africa e. V, um HITA e. V. to provide support of 0. 5% of your turnover through the AmazonSmiles program. And this without any additional effort or cost for you. Thank you. Here’s how it works: https://www.hita-ev.org/?page_id=4440
We wish you and your families a happy holiday season and a prosperous 2021. Stay healthy and confident.

 

Your HITA e. V. Board of Directors.
Thomas Erkert, Daniel Schleßmann, Günther Michels, Karsten Gareis, Daniel Gerlach

 

Only together we can make it!

 

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Healthcare IT for Africae.V.
c/o iDiaZ GmbH
Theodor-Klotzbücher-Straße 12D
97980Bad Mergentheim
Phone: +49-(0)7931-1204010
Fax: +49-(0)7931-120 40 11
Email: info@hita-ev.org

Interview with Professor Kirstin Kohler – University of Mannheim / inno.space

July 22, 2020 in HITA Radio, Partner, Projekte by guenther_michels

Co-innovation by students of the University of Mannheim with the non-profit organization HITA e. V. in the context of Digital Health – A win-win situation for the participants

Digital innovation is often driven by technical issues. This is also reflected in the curricula of the corresponding courses of study such as computer science or communications engineering. However, developments in recent years have clearly shown that software systems can have a major impact on societal changes and that their design must be considered in a socio-cultural context in order to assess their sustainable significance. Note, for example. the impact of social media or recent discussions about using a Corona app as a prominent representative of digital innovation. Universities therefore have to consider teaching concepts that sensitize students to their social responsibility and enable them to design technology from a social, social or social perspective. to operate from a human-centred perspective. Successful digital innovation can only emerge if user-centricity and technical progress are in harmony and integrated into the cultural context.

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In the User Centered Innovation course, 8 students of the Master’s program Software Engineering at the Mannheim University of Applied Sciences in cooperation with HITA e. V. demonstrated how it can be possible to jointly create added value for a non-profit institution and at the same time to develop the above-mentioned competencies within the framework of a course. HITA e. V. is a non-profit non-governmental organisation whose vision is to contribute to the optimisation of health systems in Africa through eHealth and mHealth technologies. During the project-based course, the students worked out a solution to a challenge from everyday life at HITA over a period of 15 weeks. Right at the beginning of the project, HITA confronted the students with the following question: “How can digital innovation support clinical management and the organisation of a local community clinic in Ghana?” This question was motivated by the experiences of the two HITA representatives Thomas Erkert and Daniel Gerlach, who have extensive background knowledge of the Ghanaian health system through their voluntary work.

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The university pursues a user-centric innovation approach, in which creative methods, prototyping and user interviews are applied, for example according to the Design Thinking methodology. The students work with so-called “assignments. ” These are weekly tasks, with which the students gradually learn methods to work on the complex question that is presented to them. The question initially leads to uncertainty among students, as it is much more open than the questions of other course formats. The associated degrees of freedom of the solution space are unusual and overwhelming at first. Under the methodical guidance of the supervising teacher, the students explored the problem area in the first weeks. This included exploring the specifics and processes of the Ghanaian health system and understanding the country’s social framework. This illustrated to the students the large differences in terms of hygiene, bed capacity, treatment methods, procedures and the establishment of the medical centers compared to their own health system. Based on these insights, different personas were created that document the findings on the target group and their daily challenges (in this case, midwives, nurses and patients were considered). The example of the nurse is shown in the figure below.

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With regard to the target groups, the students were then asked to devise and roughly outline different solutions based on their comprehensive knowledge of digital technology. The work took place in small groups and initially led to more than 40 different ideas. From these, the students developed five ideas for so-called low-fidelity prototypes. These are preliminary stages of the product, which are created from simple materials such as paper and cardboard in a short time. The ideas are not first implemented in code, but in concept presentations, which serve only for communication and discussion. The two most promising concepts were selected from the very different concepts in dialogue with the HITA representatives. In the following weeks, the students developed these into clickable demonstrators on the target device through several iterations. Repeated methods were used, which illuminated the quality of the elaboration from different perspectives (e. g. User Experience, Feasibility, Costs).

handy3Throughout the course, the HITA experts were in dialogue with the students with a great deal of dedication in order to answer questions about Ghana or to provide feedback on the concept ideas. Through the intensive study of the Ghanaian context, the students were able to experience how closely the use of an application in a concrete context is interwoven with its design and implementation. The highlight of the course was a guided user test with the Ghanaian hospital, in which the students had the chance to guide various representatives of a clinic in Ghana through their digital solution during a one-hour video conference, in order to explore their acceptance and to accept concerns. This was possible mainly because the HITA representatives were able to organise the video conference on site during their trip to Ghana. To the pride of all those involved, the feedback from potential users was extremely positive and provided additional, valuable impulses. The official conclusion of the project was a comprehensive presentation of the overall result by the students in front of Thomas Erkert and Daniel Gerlach from HITA e. V. on the university campus.

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The cooperation with HITA e. From the point of view of the supervising professor, V. was a great asset for teaching. It provided students with a learning experience in which they had to reflect on the consequences of their technological decisions in a social context. In this way, the students were able to become aware of their responsibility, but also of their creative possibilities. At the same time, they were sensitized to the realities of a different culture and society, which is characterized by far more limitations than their own reality of life.

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The course took place at inno. space (https://inno-space.de), the creative and makerspace of Mannheim University of Applied Sciences, which is part of the global Design Factory Global network (https://dfgn.org). There, students work exclusively on real issues in a creative learning environment based on the principle of action-based learning. In contrast to the cooperation with HITA e. V. many other inno. space projects deal with the challenges of companies and are thus strongly influenced by economic interests. By working with a non-profit company such as HITA e. V. succeeds in putting sustainability and the common good more into the focus of a course. This is a task that universities, as institutions with social responsibility, are increasingly fulfilling. All in all, the project was a happy win-win situation, which rarely arises and hopefully finds a repetition from the point of view of the Mannheim University of Applied Sciences.

In an informative interview in English, Professor Kirstin Kohler reports on the origin and development of the project. Also in discussion is Daniel Gerlach from HITA:

University of Mannheim

Prof. Kirstin Kohler - Coordinator inno.space – Design Factory Mannheim – Professorship for User Experience Design

Email: k.kohler@hs-mannheim.de – Website: www.inno-space.de

Health Care Information Technologies for Africa e.V. (HITA e.V.)

Thomas ErkertChariman of HITA e.V. – thomas.erkert@hita-ev.org

Daniel Gerlach – Expert on the board of HITA e.V. – daniel.gerlach@hita-ev.org

Podcast about the project: https://hearthis.at/hita-radio/erkert-gerlach-15-06-2020/

Article about the videoconference: https://www.hita-ev.org/?p=4149

Co-innovation by students of the University of Mannheim with the non-profit organization HITA e. V. in the context of Digital Health – A win-win situation for the participants

Videoconference between Ghana and the University of Mannheim

June 18, 2020 in Ghana, Institutionen, Partner, Projekte by guenther_michels

Videoconference in the Ghanaian outback – a transcontinental exchange between experts

Gravel roads, bush fires and scorching sun. It’s a roasting hot day. The pick-up truck creaks as it leaves the paved road from Ho towards Adaklu Waya. Ho, that is the regional capital of the Volta Region in the south east of Ghana, not far from the border to Togo. The Volta Region is one of the poorest areas in Ghana. Many people live widely scattered in small villages or settlements. The pick-up truck drives to one of these villages. The driver skillfully avoids boulders and potholes. It is shaky. The journey is nevertheless fast. The windows are closed, because otherwise there would be too much dust and dirt blowing into the car. At the side of the road the passengers see burned earth, herdsmen with cattle and people carrying water in canisters home from a hole next to the dusty track. Here in the Volta Region HITA e.V. is committed to improve medical supply. And a HITA team is on board of the pick-up truck. Thomas Erkert and Daniel Gerlach, both on the executive board of HITA e.V., check the equipment once again. Petra Knott, formerly a nurse, now a teacher, prepares a checklist. “We had doubts whether everything would work as we had agreed in Germany,” recalls Daniel Gerlach, who was responsible for the technical setup.

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Figure 1: E.P.C. Clinic in Adaklu Waya, Volta Region, Ghana

After about one hour the shaking is over. The pick-up truck turns into the parking lot in front of a modern building, a small clinic for first aid (Figure 1). It is mainly malaria, infections or wounds that are treated here. Children also see the light of day here. Behind the doors the picture changes. Dusty washbasins without running water, patient rooms without beds, foam mattresses on the floor or a wooden podium as a bed. According to the impression of the experts from Germany, the building’s construction did not take the furnishings into account (Figure 2 and 3).

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Figure 2: The E.P.C. Clinic Adaklu Waya is lacking equipment. The building was financed by a private initiative.

The HITA team passes the operating theatre, or the room one so-called. Under these circumstances, an operation is out of the question. At the end of the corridor is the reception, in front is a waiting area. Here the experts from Germany are warmly welcomed. Thomas Erkert, Petra Knott and Daniel Gerlach have many years of experience in the health sector. Togbe Lablulu is happy about the reunion: “You promised to come back and you kept your promise!” As a tribal leader, a Togbe is comparable to a mayor in Germany. Next to him, a team of midwives, nurses and a representative of the clinic operator are present. The tension rises.

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Figure 3: The E.P.C. Clinic Adaklu Waya is lacking equipment. The building was financed by a private initiative.

A banner of HITA e.V. is quickly put up and then it is time to start. Daniel Gerlach sets up a laptop with a webcam on the reception counter. Next to it is a mobile phone for the data connection. One click to start the video call. And it rings. Suddenly voices and pictures from Mannheim. The connection is in place. The quality is good. The students from Mannheim are happy on one end of the line. The medical staff at the other end of the line is excited: the students from Mannheim University of Applied Sciences present the prototype of an app for documenting the course of diseases in structurally poor areas (Figure 4).

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Figure 4: HITA e.V. enables a video conference between the Mannheim University of Applied Sciences and medical staff from Ghana

This app was developed as part of a Design Thinking course. Design Thinking is a method for developing systems and solutions that focus on the users, in this case patients and medical staff. The nurses in Ghana give constructive feedback and consider a possible use of the presented app in their daily clinical routine. The clinic manager rates the ideas from Germany as promising and would be very happy about a further cooperation. The printouts of the prepared presentation brought along as a fallback option were not necessary to being used. The mobile phone network in Adaklu Waya is quite strong in order to enable the data connection. After a good hour of the exchange, as it is custom in Ghana, we follow the protocol and Togbe Lablulu thanks all participants for the inspiring insights and the opportunity to work together with young people across continents in this special way.

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Figure 5: In addition to nurses and midwives, the managing director of the hospital chain and the Togbe (tribal leader) is also on site

Got it! It all worked out! The pressure disappears and there is still a little “chatting” (Figure 4). Daniel Gerlach removes the provisional video conferencing system again. Petra Knott and Thomas Erkert set up two more patient rooms together with the clinic staff. In the meantime, a housekeeper has removed the coarsest dirt. Modern patient couches, beds and furniture, which HITA e.V. has brought to Ghana by ship container as a donation from a hospital in Germany, are checked and explained to the clinic staff: “In addition to cleanliness and hygiene, it is essential that the furniture is set up in such a way that the patients can be reached from both sides”, is only one of the many assistance measures that Petra Knott and Thomas Erkert discuss with the staff from Ghana (Figure 6 and 7).

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Figure 6: The HITA team explains how to handle medical equipment and provides support in setting up the clinic.

With many new motivating impressions, the HITA team gets back into the pick-up truck a few hours later. On the way, workers, farmers and school children ride along for a while. They quickly get on the pick-up and knock on the back window when they want to get off again to finish the way to their home on foot through the bush. At dusk, the pick-up reaches the town of Ho again. This collaboration continues even after the HITA experts return to Germany. A marketable solution will be developed from the prototype of the app. The nursing staff, the clinic manager and Togbe Lablulu are all eagerly awaiting the result.

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Figure 7: The HITA team explains how to handle medical equipment and provides support in setting up the clinic.

On the 15th. In June, we posted a podcast with further up-to-date information on this project on our audio platform HITA Radio. In an informative interview, the two HITA board members Thomas Erkert and Daniel Gerlach report on the development of the project, the current development of the app and the video conference they held at the beginning of the year during their visit to Ghana together with experts on site and with the students in Mannheim.

About HITA e.V.:

Healthcare IT for Africa e.V. (HITA e.V., www.hita-ev.org) is a non-profit non-governmental organization. HITA e.V. is an association of experts from different fields, such as education, development cooperation, health care, business administration, management and information technology, all of whom work on a voluntary basis. HITA e.V. has been implementing educational projects for vocational schools as well as telemedicine and infrastructure projects for the health care sector since 2009. The focus is currently on the rural areas of Ghana. As a non-profit non-governmental organization, the vision of HITA e.V. is to use eHealth and mHealth technologies to help optimizing the professional training of non-doctoral medical staff. These are forms of learning in which electronic or digital media are used for the presentation and distribution of learning materials, and in which it is possible to use portable devices such as smartphones or tablets. The goal of HITA e.V. is the sustainable improvement of health care in rural areas of Africa.

Article as PDF for Download: HITA Videoconference

Worktrip to Ho – Report

March 12, 2020 in Ghana, Projekte by guenther_michels

WORKTRIP REPORT BY KARSTEN GAREIS: This year’s HITA delegation is travelling in two waves: Thomas (HITA chairman) and Daniel (the youngest member of the HITA board) arrive on 28 December already, together with Petra and Rachida, the two teachers of the Frankfurt Carlo-Mierendorff-School. Karsten (also a member of the HITA board) and the two IT-technicians Leonhard and Johannes follow on 2 January.

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The main objective of the trip is to check and – where necessary – repair the eLearning infrastructure that HITA has been operating since 2018 together with its local partners at the School of Nursing and Midwifery (SONAM), part of the University of Health and Applied Sciences (UHAS), in Ho (Volta Region). In addition, the number of computer workstations in the eLearning labs of this training facility for nurses and midwives is to be further expanded. In discussions with the teaching staff and the project management, it is also necessary to determine what experience has been gained with the integration of eLearning and mLearning in everyday training. On the basis of the results Thomas, Daniel and Karsten want to plan the further procedure with the partner institutions in Ho in order to ensure a sustainable improvement of nursing and midwifery training in this part of Ghana.

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Petra and Rachida, who travelled to Ghana in Easter 2019 for the first time, want to use their stay to officially conclude the partnership between the Carlo Mierendorff School and one of the local general education schools, the Mawuko Girls Senior High School, and to inaugurate a modern computer lab as a first step of the cooperation. In addition, the other schools that were visited last spring are not to be left empty-handed either – they too will each receive a larger number of computers, which will be installed and networked by HITA in cooperation with the local IT specialists.

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The third project is to hand over donated school material, computers and hospital equipment to the population of the Adaklu district. HITA Chairman Thomas was appointed “Development Chief” of Adaklu in 2018; now we have joined forces with the traditional head of the area, Togbe Lablulu, and a group of local development workers to tackle some of the district’s main challenges.

>>> CONTINUE READING >>> FULL REPORT

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Working Together for Adaklu – Container Project II

January 28, 2020 in Ghana, Projekte by guenther_michels

Working Together for Adaklu – Handover of Schoolbags, Computer Labs and Medical Equipment to the People of Adaklu

HITA, our German NGO engaged in the health and education sectors of Ghana, the Chances Foundation, a Ghanaian NGO engaged in health and educational interventions, and DreamsAlive, a vibrant team of development workers operating in the Adaklu District and awaiting registration as a Foundation, have joined forces to empower children and adolescents across the region. On Sunday, 5 January 2020, these three organisations had the honour of handing over a range of carefully chosen donations to Togbe Lablulu in a celebration held in Adaklu-Waya, the capital of the Adaklu District.

First, 80 school bags were distributed to selected children (girls) of Waya and four surrounding villages. All of the children selected come from vulnerable backgrounds and face the risk of inadequate access to school education due to their family’s inability to pay for even the most basic equipment. The donation is based on a proposition of the DreamsAlive Foundation, whose work is based on the premise that empowering girls and women is one of the most effective means to boost the development of disadvantaged communities. Indeed, there is now a strong consensus among development experts that giving girls the same opportunities as boys to fulfil their potential is the way ahead for faster and more self-sustaining development.

55 bags (each of which filled with contents including colouring pencils, a name badge and an exercise book) were presented to school-age girls who had been transported to the site of the event from Waya and surrounding villages by courtesy of Togbe Lablulu; the remaining 25 school bags will be delivered to more remote villages by the team of DreamsAlive in the coming days. This activity benefits form the in-depth knowledge and experience of the DreamsAlive team about the needs of the most deprived citizens of the Adaklu district.

Second, two new computer labs have been set up by the German HITA at Adaklu Senior High School in Waya and the Basic School in Adaklu-Hasu. HITA has extensive track record in setting up modern computer labs in educational institutions across Ghana, focussing especially on nursing and midwifery education settings. This experience is used in Adaklu to enable more school children to benefit from IT-based learning methods, thereby letting them benefit fully from the potential of computers and the Internet to improve learning outcomes and prepare pupils for the jobs of the future.

Third, the EPC Clinic in Waya, which is currently in the process of becoming fully operational, was provided with a range of medical equipment donated by health institutions in Germany. The equipment will contribute to an improvement of health care services to children and adults in Waya and the whole of Adaklu. Special emphasis is placed on guaranteeing that the donated equipment is tailored to the needs and conditions of the target community, that it is fully operable and that it will be maintained to last over many years to come. This is one way in which HITA sets itself apart from many earlier donor-lead initiatives that, although well-intended, did not contribute tangibly to development because of too little thought given to maintenance and sustainbility over the longer term.

All of the donations stem from private persons, schools, health institutions and companies in Germany. These donations had been collected through the previous year by HITA. The activities are part of a longer-term plan of HITA, the Chances Foundation and DreamsAlive to work together for boosting development in the Adaklu District. Among the speakers of the event were Togbe Lablulu, chief of the Adaklu District; Mr. Richard Atiemo, Health Coordinator for the EP Church, Adaklu; Mr. Samuel K. Taylor, Headmaster of the Adaklu Senior High School; Mr. Jacob Ahiave of the DreamsAlive Foundation; Mr. Thomas Erkert and Mr. Karsten Gareis, Head and Board Member, respectively, of HITA. As MC Mr. Nananyaw Bediako was guiding through the programme.

Special thanks were given to Mr. Emmanuel Chance, Owner-Manager of Chances Hotel and Head of the Chances Foundation, who could not be present for health reasons. Without Mr. Chance‘s hands-on support none of the donations would have been possible.

Christmas presents after Christmas: HITA will equip more schools

December 17, 2019 in Ghana, Partner, Projekte, Verein by guenther_michels

HITA-Working trip to Ho from 27th of December 2019 till 12th of January 2020 - As in previous years, members of the association will travel to Ho and the Volta Region to equip seven schools with computer labs and networks. Our second container with high-quality technical and medical equipment or donations such as 80 school backpacks is currently on the way to Accra in Ghana. The two teachers Rachida Aouad and Petra Knott from the Carlo Mierendorff School in Frankfurt, the HITA board members Karsten Gareis, Daniel Gerlach Thomas Erkert and our two IT technicians Christoph Welge and Leonhard Dittmann will donate their time and vacation days to support HITA e. V. and the students and teachers in Ghana. Our activities at the turn of the year will have various focuses. So we will this time:

>>>    Setting up another computer lab at the School for Nursing and Midwifery (SONAM) at the University of Ho for Applied Sciences (UHAS)

>>>    Signing of cooperation declaration between Carlo Mierendorff School, HITA e. V. and Mawuko Girls’ Senior High School

>>>    Installation of a computer lab with 40 computers at Mawuko Girls’ Senior High School

>>>    Handing over of donations from pupils of the Carlo-Mierendorff School to the Springs School in Ho

>>>    Installation of two more computer labs at OLA Girls’ Senior High School and Mawuli High School

>>>    Handing over of 80 backpacks to disadvantaged pupils in the Adaklu community

>>>    Equipping smaller schools in Adaklu and HASU with PCs

>>>    Equip various facilities with medical-technical devices, collected medicines and important furnish like hospital beds, loungers, etc.

You can certainly imagine that your fellow travellers will hardly be bored during the two weeks. We’ve set ourselves a lot of goals. All this is only possible due to your support! We hope that you will continue to help us in the future so that we can implement our projects. We are also pleased about urgently needed further members and sponsors, about donations in kind and cooperation. Follow our work at www.hita-ev.org (on www.hita-ev.org/?lang=en you get the English version). We also put interviews and audio podcasts from Germany and Ghana on HITA Radio at www.hearthis.at/hita-radio online. Before we left, we recorded a conversation with chairman Thomas Erkert, in which he explained the exact procedures of the trip, introduced the schools and also expressed a big thank you to all supporters and participants.

We wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2020!

The Board of Healthcare Information Technology for Africa e.V.

Thomas Erkert, Daniel Schleßmann and Günther Michels

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Two teachers on their way to Ghana – Carlo Mierendorff to Mawuku

December 17, 2019 in Ghana, HITA Radio, Partner, Projekte by guenther_michels

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The teachers Petra Knott and Rachida Aouad from the Carlo-Mierendorff-Schule in Frankfurt will make their way to the school on the 27th of April. December together with HITA again on the trip to Ghana. During this second visit the cooperation agreement between the two schools is signed with the Mawuku School in the Volta Region. During their first stay in April 2019, the two teachers visited various local schools with HITA in order to select a partner institution. They got to know teachers and students, but also the country and its people, taught themselves, were able to develop ideas for projects together with the other teachers and fell in love with the fantastic Ghanaian food. After difficult and close considerations, the choice for the partner school finally went to the Mawuku Girls Senior High School. A teacher exchange is planned for 2020 and Skype lessons between the pupils in Ghana and Germany are to be created. The intercultural exchange between the students supports political and social science education, but also geography, history and above all the direct practical use of the English language. At the same time the students get to know each other’s culture and society and practice communication.

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The project started two years ago with lectures of HITA Chairman Thomas Erkert in the school classes. The pupils were immediately motivated, had creative ideas and have so far organised various donation projects and action days by themselves with help of their teachers. At the moment there is again a donation of toys for pupils in Ghana in the second HITA container on the way to the Ghanaian capital and harbour Accra, but money could also be collected by the pupils with flea markets and cake sales.

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HITA is laying the foundations so that the pupils in Ghana can communicate with the pupils in Frankfurt. Our NGO installs the conditions for the use of the new technical possibilities, establishes computer labs and Internet or Intranet connections. In an interview Petra Knott and Rachida Aouad talk about their first experiences in Ghana, the projects and the upcoming plans for the upcoming trip.

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Rachida Aouad and Petra Knott during their school visits in April 2019.

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The four pupils “sacrificed” themselves for the project. For a small price you could buy water bombs and throw them at the brave targets.

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The Frankfurt teachers taught the students something in Ghana, as a thank you the students then taught Rachida and Petra a Ghanaian dance.

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On one of the action days the students even produced a “Ghana Cake” with glaze in flag colours.

Our second container is almost full! We are still looking for donations!

September 15, 2019 in Ghana, Projekte by guenther_michels

The HITA team was busy again and loaded our second 40ft container on 19th July with high quality medical and technical equipment. A big thank you goes to everyone who has donated so far! The loading area is almost full, but we are still looking for equipment and need your help with the donation. It’s all about SSD hard drives, keyboards and mice. We will again equip hospitals, schools and university facilities in and around Ho in the Volta region. On board are now new hospital beds with much needed mattresses and medical supplies, and we will equip two new computer labs with a total of 160 computers. For this we still lack 40 to 50 hard drives, but also the already mentioned keyboards and mice. Above all, with our donations, we support the training of medical staff, but also the staff in existing facilities and improve the patient situation on site enormously. In many places, for example, births are only performed on blankets on the floor. There are simply no beds available or which in misserablem condition. Information about possible donations you can easily via our online form submit to us: Donation Project: Support HITA.

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If you want to get a better idea of ​​how this project works, how we work and what happens after the shipment, then you will find our detailed container action from last year here: Donation Container – WLAN Implementation 2018.

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HITA project trip to Ho in the Volta region – April 2019

June 17, 2019 in Ghana, Partner, Projekte by guenther_michels

14. – 22. April 2019 – Report

The HITA delegation this time consists of Thomas, Daniel and Karsten, all of whom have been in Ghana for previous HITA stays, and newcomers Petra and Rachida. The latter two represent the Carlo Mierendorff School, an integrated secondary school from Frankfurt, which aims to enter into a longer-term cooperation with a high school in Ghana. Petra and Rachida want to establish local contacts to a number of high schools. Later, one of these will be selected with the objective to agree on a series of joint activities that will lead to permanent Ghanaian-German cooperation. HITA will be involved in this cooperation as far as IT-specific topics are concerned: from equipping schools with IT infrastructure to training pupils in the use and maintenance of information and communication technology.

The welcome at Chances Hotel 2

Die Begrüßung in Chance´s Hotel

Early in the morning on Palm Sunday we set off for Ghana. After 9 hours, we reach Accra via Brussels. The new terminal testifies to the economic growth of recent years – of all African countries, Ghana has one of the highest growth rates. The problem is that too little of this is reaching the general population. The expansion is due to the export of crude oil and gold, i.e. sectors that contribute a lot to the gross national product, but in which comparatively few people are employed. As a result, Ghana continues to suffer from high unemployment. Experts agree that the country must make considerable efforts in the field of education. Only then will the favourable macroeconomic development also contribute to sustained improvements in the quality of life for the general population. The vast majority of Ghanaian women and men continue to live in the simplest of circumstances, with completely inadequate health services.

The Development Chief back in Adaklu (Copy)

At the airport, HITA partner Emmanuel Chance is waiting for us to take his minibus to Ho, the capital of the Volta region, four hours away. Last year, HITA equipped a large nursing and midwifery school with a powerful computer lab plus campus WLAN (see the report here). We are curious to see what will await us once we reach the site: Have the teaching staff started to establish computer- and smartphone-supported learning (eLearning and mLearning) in everyday student life, as it was planned? After a bumpy ride as usual, during which we are accompanied by torrential rainfall, we reach Ho in the evening. The staff of Chance’s Hotel greets us warmly. We are welcomed with a delicious dinner and Ghanaian beer, then we fall exhausted into bed.

The welcome at Chances Hotel

In the coming days we will visit four general schools that have been recommended to us by our friends in Ho. We already know the Springs School from our last visit. It is housed in the buildings of a former garage. The teachers have only scarce means at their disposal for their work. After the welcoming Petra and Rachida suggest to do a group work with the pupils. The objective is to teach them some general information about Germany, such as food, school, seasons, football, etc. First, random groups are formed. Then the small groups deal with a topic, read it together, look at the corresponding pictures and are asked tp remember at least two important pieces of information. It is astonishing that most groups are able to memorize almost everything. The final presentation takes place in the so-called „ball bearing“: Two pupils who have worked on different topics face each other in an inner and outer circle and tell each other in a constant change what they have learned about Germany.

Meeting at UHAS Headquarters (Copy)

The other three high schools we visit, each with more than 1,000 students, are considerably larger but better equipped: Mawuli School and Mawuko Girls Senior High School, both founded by the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Ghana, and the Catholic OLA Girls Senior High School. Here too Petra and Rachida took the opportunity to carry out the exercise described above in group work with some classes, which was again very well received.

Giving Presents to Spring School (Copy)

We are thrilled by the enthusiasm of the hundreds of students who welcome us at each of the high schools. Not least because of the huge size of the classes, which are usually between 100 and 200, school lessons at these places usually consist almost exclusively of frontal teaching. Nevertheless, it only takes a few moments until the students have understood the basic principles of gour group work and apply them with a lot of enthusiasm. The feedback from the teaching staff is also excellent. We then discuss with the school management and the teachers present some possibilities for cooperation, e.g. exchange of teachers, joint project work with regular online meetings via Skype, possible student internships, support with teaching materials, e.g. for the natural sciences, etc.

Welcome at Springs School 2 (Copy)

In the coming weeks, Petra and Rachida will discuss the next steps with the school management of the Carlo Mierendorff School. The plan is to establish a firm cooperation relationship with one of the four schools. HITA will explore how we can support the schools in the future according to their needs in terms of ICT equipment and IT teacher capacity.

Another focus of our trip is to check how the Campus WLAN and the HITA Computer Lab installed last year are used at the SONAM in Ho. While the entire installation was completed by HITA in 2018, it is the responsibility of the school management and faculty to ensure optimal use of the new infrastructure in everyday school life. A working group, in which the SONAM-IT team and some selected tutors participate, has used the last few months to set up an eLearning platform (based on Moodle, an open source software) and to use it in the classroom as part of a pilot operation.

Team Work at Spring School 3 (Copy)

Our interviews with the teachers involved and the IT team show that good progress has been made. 20 courses, which are an integral part of the nursing training, were selected for the pilot. For each course, a work area has been set up on the eLearning platform where teachers can post course information and learning materials. So far, Moodle has mainly been used for tests/exams in the form of multiple-choice question catalogues. Whereas previously paper sheets were used for this purpose, the tests are now carried out online, for which students have to visit the HITA Computer Lab at a fixed time. This brings considerable advantages from the tutor’s point of view, as they can now access the test results immediately after the end of the session. Correction by hand is no longer necessary. This gives teachers more time for exchanging information with students and preparing courses. 650 pupils are already taking part in the pilot operation and are thus acquiring valuable knowledge in the effective use of computers.

Online Test at HITA Computer Lab 3 (Copy)

We spend a day at the HITA-Lab and observe the participants at one of the online exams. Two IT specialists look after the room, provide technical support and give advice. This form of intensive support is necessary because most students, while very familiar with their smartphones, have little experience in using desktop computers, and therefore need support time and again. The eLearning system, which is installed on the school’s local LAN and can therefore be used independently of an Internet connection, works without problems and is lightning fast. The teachers involved in the pilot will receive practical help uploading content to the Moodle platform. Some have already become real Moodle experts and swap insider tips. The need for piloting is demonstrated by the fact that standardised procedures have not yet been established for all eventualities. On this day, the project team recognizes that the students still have opportunities to cheat, which need to be eliminated by changing some procedures (e.g. setting up an additional, temporary password protection).

Lecturer entering test questions into Moodle (Copy)

Our observations indicate that the teachers accept the eLearning system and the new computer infrastructure very well. They also appera to be very willing to make the necessary effort to participate in training courses and to familiarise themselves with the system. This was not necessarily to be expected, because the workload of the tutors was already enormous before, not least because of the strongly increasing number of students in recent years.

Online Test at HITA Computer Lab (Copy)

We discuss with the project team how things should continue in the coming months. The teachers would welcome support in setting up teaching materials on the eLearning system. There is a wish to be able to post video clips, practice guides, textbooks and specialist literature on the platform. It is still unclear which content from the Internet can be used for this purpose and how to proceed practically. We suggest setting up a central eLibrary where all essential texts and media content can be stored and used by teachers for their own purposes. In the medium term, the eLibrary will provide significant efficiency gains for teachers and students. HITA will participate in the procurement of the electronic teaching materials, for which we can use our online access to the SONAM Moodle platform.

Online Test at HITA Computer Lab 2 (Copy)

Preparing online test in HITA Computer Lab (Copy)

There still seem to be reservations among the teaching staff about the consistent use of smartphones for learning purposes. Virtually all pupils have a smartphone, but so far it has only been used informally in everyday student life. In our opinion, a separate pilot project will be necessary to convince the tutors of the advantages of mobile learning and to work out deployment scenarios together with them. This is one of the main tasks that HITA will dedicate itself to in the coming months.

Team Work at Spring School 1 (Copy)

With HITA partner Emmanuel Chance we discuss our plan to establish our own vocational school for the practical training of young locals. Our observations both at the nursing and midwifery school and at the general education schools in the region confirm that Ghana’s education system is not at all capable of producing the required number of skilled workers needed to set up and, in particular, maintain the country’s infrastructure. There is a lack of knowledge on how to ensure the long-term operation of computer systems, for example. Far too many devices remain unused because no specialist is available to carry out repairs and adapt them to local needs. Chance has therefore been pursuing the idea of establishing a technical vocational school for his region for some time. HITA is currently investigating the possibilities of winning partners for this project in Germany, based on the good experience with the dual education system in our country.

Giving Presents to Spring School (Copy)

Easter Saturday brings us to Adaklu, where we visit the Chief and his wife, called Mama, and thank them for last year’s enthronement ceremony of Thomas as Development Chief [see our 2018 report]. Adaklu is a rural region with the imposing Mount Adaklu towering up in the centre. As is typical for the remote parts of Ghana, the population of Adaklu is inadequately supplied with the bare essentials – in particular drinking water is lacking. Waya, the main town, is not connected to the mains water supply. Drinking water is transported to Waya by motorbike in canisters. Since this costs a lot of money, many inhabitants rather drink the dirty water from the only river in the region, the Kpedze.

Visit to local high schools (Copy)

The last high school we attend is the only high school in the Adaklu district, the Adaklu Senior High School. Here 45 teachers are respoinsible for almost 600 grammar school students; this number will rise to 1,000 in the coming school year. Conditions in this rural region are considerably worse than in the schools in Ho, which we have already got to know. The school principal is visibly concerned that he will not be able to provide the students, who have gathered for our visit on the school forecourt, with sufficient drinking water. A further problem is the electricity supply: the electricity bills represent a considerable burden on the school’s tight budget. Initial attempts to generate electricity from solar energy were successful, but the necessary funds for expansion are not available. We agree with the school management to establish contacts with potential development aid institutions in Germany. HITA is also committed to improving the school’s equipment with computer technology. In particular, the maintenance of existing equipment is proving to be difficult time and again because there are too few trained service providers available. We spend the evening together with friends of Emmanuel Chance on the grounds of his villa, which also houses the HITA office for the Volta Region. We are making new contacts with a number of committed locals, many of whom come from Adaklu but now live in Accra or abroad. The three teachers present are particularly energetic and welcome the opportunity to work with HITA on innovative solutions to meet the country’s many challenges.

New equipment for SONAM (Copy)

After the exhausting day in Adaklu, we spend Easter Sunday for writing our various reports, sorting the extensive photo and video material – and resting on our shady terrace. In addition, we distribute small gifts to the hotel staff, who supported us so energetically and took care of our physical well-being. Before we fly back to Frankfurt on Easter Monday, we use our stay in the capital Accra for an informal meeting with a veteran Ghanaian diplomat, who has excellent contacts to the Ministry of Health. He promises to arrange a meeting with the incumbent minister. HITA will use this meeting to ensure that our long-standing good relationship with the Ministry continues under the current government. Specifically, we want to discuss how HITA can use the extensive experience gained at the Nursing and Midwifery School in Ho to modernise other educational institutions in all parts of Ghana.

No information - no development (Copy)

Taking some time out in the pool (Copy)

HITA Yearbook 2018

February 13, 2019 in Allgemein, Ghana, NGO, Projekte, Verein by guenther_michels

It is now fresh from the pressure and we can hold the beautiful work in our hands! Our yearbook of 2018 is ready and available for members, friends, supporters and interested parties.

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The yearbook is designed in A4 format, consists of 58 pages and is equipped with 169 informative and beautiful pictures. The paper printed on glossy paper is bound in a hardcover cover. Last year’s projects have been extensively documented, from the shipment of our first container with technical equipment and high-quality medical equipment to the installation of the first campus WLAN in West Africa at the University of Health and Applied Science in Ho in the Volta region.

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Our visits to Ghana are enlighteningly illustrated and presented in detail, and informative reports have been compiled. Compact and practical, the most important information at a glance with additional data on budget, expenses, planning dates and results on evaluations. We can show what has meanwhile been implemented in cooperation with many stakeholders from different countries. But there is still so much to do and we are only just starting our business.

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There are many ways to support HITA, another is the purchase of our HITA Yearbook 2018. The extensive work can be purchased from us at a price of 55 euros. Since the copies are not produced in series, but are printed on order, resulting in printing costs of 52.97 euros. So there is not really any budget left to support more schools in Ghana. But we also offer a discount in combination with a membership and of course we look forward to every other donation. If you are interested in placing an order, send us an email to info@hita-ev.org.

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Prices for the HITA Yearbook 2018

Unit price:                                                         55 Euros

Kombi with full membership:                         105 Euro    (instead of 115 Euro)

Combi with reduced membership:                  80 Euro     (instead of 90 Euro)

Combi with sponsoring membership:            300 Euro    (instead of 310 Euro)

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