Most of the time, when people attend international conferences, they meet, chat and promise to network and that is the end of the story. They wait for the next conference and start the conversation all over again.
Health Unbound is seeking to change that.
“There is a gap in communication. After these conferences nothing happens,” David Haddad, Health Unbound’s director told me as he finished his lunch today.
“We link communities in an informative, educative and social way.”
Health Unbound, also referred to as the HUB and based in Washington DC, United States, is an online forum that brings together health service providers, donors, development partners and researchers.
“The idea is to let people work and connect wherever they are. The people can speak about specific issues related to them,” he said.
Haddad said the website is a repository for data contributed by members and joining the community was free.
Apart from carrying mHealth related news, the website serves as a noticeboard for research networks and a database of technical programmes.
The first version of the website began in June 2010 but an improved, user-friendly website was launched during this week’s conference.
So far it has more than 500 members, including a vibrant community of African representatives from Ghana and South Africa.
The HUB has six principles, one of which is to enable connections and break down barriers between health implementers, developers and donors.
There is also a code of conduct for members, relating to their work. One that I noted with interest is collaboration.
“Collaboration reduces redundancy, and improves the quality of our work,” says Haddad.
There are plans to have Arabic and Spanish versions of the site.
Munyaradzi Makoni, freelance science journalist and SciDev.Net contributor