When it comes to health, there are few people who are tasked with answering the Big Questions. What’s actually working? Where is the evidence? And how do we get it to scale? Today we talk with Tigest Tamrat, a technical officer at the World Health Organization (WHO). Her job is to find answers to incredibly hard, ambiguous questions. She’s co-authored some of the most essential reading in this space – including the WHO’s Recommendations on Digital Interventions for Health Systems Strengthening and the mHealth Assessment and Planning for Scale Toolkit (MAPS).
Tigest gives us a window into the stakeholders, the tensions, and the worries that go on behind the scenes when you’re working on policy at a global scale. In the second half of the episode, we learn how Tigest stumbled into her work with WHO. Lastly, she shares her hopes for Ethiopia, the country where she was born, and how social enterprises can help Ethiopians lift themselves up.
Note that this is a personal interview with Tigest Tamrat. Nothing said in this interview should be construed as the position of WHO or any of its affiliates.
- The WHO’s Recommendations on Digital Interventions for Health System Strengthening: Tigest describes this as her ‘labor of love’: an attempt to bring together the latest evidence on what works and what doesn’t in digital health in a truly systematic way.
- WHO mHealth Assessment and Planning for Scale (MAPS) Toolkit: Much has been written about the pillars to scale for digital health interventions, but I have not found a more compelling or comprehensive resource on this topic than the MAPS toolkit.
- WHO Classification of Digital Health Interventions v1.0: Trying to define a common categorization and classification for digital health interventions was one of Tigest’s great challenges during her time at WHO.
- Tigest has supported many other seminal resources at WHO for digital health, including the WHO Digital Implementation Investment Guide (DIIG), the WHO Monitoring and Evaluating Digital Health Interventions, and the web-based The Digital Health Atlas.
- Health Information Technology (HIT) Lab at Columbia University: HITLAB is where Tigest first started to dig deep into the world of digital health.
- The WHO Handbook for Guideline Development: This 180-page document provides a tiny glimpse into the rigorous process followed by the WHO in establishing health guidelines.
- The Global mHealth Initiative at Johns Hopkins University provides rigorous, evidence-based support for mobile ICTs to improve global health in resource-limited settings.
- The Gartner Hype Cycle is a graph that demonstrates the adoption of new technologies through five phases. It’s a tool and concept used to differentiate “hype” technologies from those built to last.