The first week, a technical summary for all my geeks

So, this was an interesting, frustrating week filled with challenges.  I spent the better part of the week trying to resurrect the Moodle environment in preparation for Julie’s arrival Friday (since delayed a week due to illness).  Simultaneously I was training the local tech on Linux operations (basics including a lot of command line work).  By the end of the week most of the systems were tested and I was about to begin upgrades to the servers (Ubuntu upgrades then Moodle) when a few things started failing.  The server UPSs are all fried from dirty power, salt air, and who no what else so I have two desktop ones to try to protect the servers.  Then one of the servers failed.  Nothong, just would not power up.  Took it out and cleaned the internal power supplies (2 of them), removed the memory and cleaned a little crud off contacts, slid the removable power supplies back in and tried it again.  Success.  Too late in the day to start the upgrade, the generator shuts off at 4pm so I hailed it, a monitor, keyboard, router, etc., home and will attempt the upgrade today.  Might get a better 4G connection here.

About 4G, am really liking the Cradlepoint modems.  Have a 4g sim inside one, added a WiFi as wan connection to my little WiFi hotspot and set load balancing on.  Cool and very handy way to get a better throughput.

So there’s the technical update from week one.

Monrovia – August 5th, 2015

Congo Town Apartment, also parking lot overnight

Congo Town Apartment, also parking lot overnight

It may not look like it, but here’s the view of my lodging since I landed last Friday.  It’s a nice apartment with 4 bedrooms, kitchen living room, guards, razor wire, and a generator.  Also, it happens to be where the ACCEL (www.accelglobalhealth.org) parks all their vehicles for the night and then starts them all beginning at 6:30am..

I’ve three wonderful housemates, all doctors here teaching ultrasound techniques.  Very lucky that two of them are vegetarians and all three great cooks.  I earned my keep by figuring out what was wrong with the microwave an putting it back in operation.

It all starts tomorrow

Tomorrow morning, I won’t be driving to UMass Medical School and dropping off Julie, instead I’ll be getting out of the car and going to my new office in the Office of Global Health.  Tomorrow I begin the task of bringing innovative, sustainable information technology to the ACCEL project in Liberia!   I am excited for this opportunity to work towards strengthening the health services inside Liberia as part of the great team that has been brought together by UMass.

You can read more about the ACCEL program here ACCEL Global Health website  and you can also follow the work of the Medical School as WE continue to build the health care capabilities in Liberia at the UMass Global Health site.  UMass Medical School, office of Global Health   of course you can also follow Julie and I here on this blog as we return to Liberia this summer!

ACCEL meeting at University of Massachusetts Medical School

Dr. V Golakai, Dean of the A.M. Dogliotti Medical College, Monrovia, Liberia, June 2015

Dr. V Golakai, Dean of the A.M. Dogliotti Medical College, Monrovia, Liberia, June 2015

Monday and Tuesday of these I had the privilege of attending the  ACCEL (Academic Consortium Combating Ebola in Liberia) meeting at the University of Massachusetts Medical School campus.  The two day event covered not only the activities to fight the outbreak from all the members of the consortium but also a special focus on the e-Learning system Julie and I installed.  Our friend and partner in the effort, Dr. Golakai, the Deam of the medical college in Liberia where we deployed the system gave several talks on the school, healthcare in Liberia, funding, and laid out his vision for how to make effective changes.  It was a great two days with representatives from several medical schools, the Massachusetts department of public health, and a several key figures from Liberia and Ethiopia.

A time for cautious celebration

Good news arrived at the end of last week.  Liberia was declared Ebola free by the WHO (WHO – The Ebola Epidemic is over in Liberia) .   I am thinking about all those that made this possible, all the health care workers that risked their lives, some losing their lives to the disease.  All the Liberians who came forward to help, again putting themselves at risk.  To the churches for spreading the word throughout the country.

And now, we need to roll up our sleeves and repair the damages and rebuild the health care organizations throughout the country.  I am pleased to still be working with the University of Massachusetts Medical school on their continuing efforts there.  I’ll post new updates about the renewed efforts soon.