Since the latest outbreak of Ebola in sub-Saharan Africa, thousands of people have died from the disease by official count, and the true death toll may be much higher. While Ebola is difficult to contract unless one is exposed to the bodily fluids of a person in the latter stages of the illness, poverty and lack of proper facilities and equipment throughout Africa have made the disease difficult to contain. Add to that the visceral aspects of the affliction, and you have a formula for panic and the spread of misinformation in addition to the real and serious dangers posed by the disease.
That’s why IBM has stepped up to combat the Ebola crisis where it lives – deploying our expertise in disaster relief & recovery, data analysis, mobile technology and cloud computing to help governments, health care workers and others on the ground get the tools and information they need to stop Ebola in its tracks.
- The IBM Research Lab in Nairobi, Kenya – the continent’s first technology research lab – is collaborating with Sierra Leone’s Open Government Initiative, Cambridge University, Airtel and Kenya’s Echo Mobile on an SMS/toll-free communications channel to collect and share information, and track the disease.
- IBMers around the world are taking a leading role in the creation of an Ebola Open Data Repository which will use IBM’s SoftLayer cloud technology to provide governments, aid agencies and researchers with free and open access to globally-contributed data related to Ebola.
- After deploying best practices in the fight against Ebola, Nigeria has recently
been declared free of the disease. An IBM donation of Connections technology to Nigeria’s Lagos State Government will support the country’s preparedness against future outbreaks.
Read more about IBM’s full portfolio of responses to the Ebola crisis at the links below.
Stanley S. Litow is IBM’s Vice President of Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs and President of the IBM International Foundation.
More Information About IBM’s Responses to the Ebola Crisis:
Mayors are using data and analytics as the basis of collaboration with nonprofits, local agencies and others to improve the quality of life for city residents. Addressing such essential issues as health care delivery and public safety in an era of diminishing resources requires a smarter approach to identifying and making use of actionable information.
At this week’s IBM THINK Forum in New York City, leaders from around the world will gather to discuss the transformational convergence of government services and big data. Tune in to the IBM THINK Forum on October 8 and 9 to discover how big data is helping decision makers engage with the people they serve.
Myung J. Lee is Executive Director of Cities of Service, a coalition of nearly 200 cities whose mayors are committed to using volunteer service to solve local pressing challenges.
On Saturday, September 20th, I had the opportunity to meet a special group of new students at Richard J. Daley College, one of the City Colleges of Chicago. These students came in on a Saturday to learn about the Daley College community and the resources available to support them on their educational journey.
What distinguishes this group 100+ students is the fact that they do not yet have a high school diploma. They are taking courses at Daley College while enrolled in Sarah E. Goode STEM Academy, one of five Early College STEM Schools created through partnerships among the Chicago Public Schools, City Colleges of Chicago, and five technology companies led by IBM – creator of the P-TECH grades 9 through 14 schools model. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel launched the Early College STEM High Schools in 2012 based on recommendations from an IBM Smarter Cities Challenge partnership with the City.
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IBM’s breakthrough technologies in cloud, analytics, mobile computing, social computing and data security are transforming the way companies do business and governments serve their constituents. That’s why IBM Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs was so excited to work with the government of Córdoba Province, Argentina to improve the teaching of English in more than 100 public schools across the province.
I recently had the chance to discuss IBM’s new technologies with more than 100 educators and members of the general public during Córdoba’s second annual IT Education Week – the largest technology event in a city with global aspirations to become a hub for innovative technologies. IT Education Week is hosted by education and technology specialists with the goal of raising technology awareness among the general public and decision makers in the public and private sectors.
As IBM announces Watson Analytics – developed to make sophisticated data analysis more accessible to non-technical users – more than 40 IBM Watson employees are collaborating with students at The City University of New York (CUNY) to focus Watson’s cognitive computing powers on improving higher education and the delivery of city services. Today’s IBM Watson Employee Day of Service at CUNY will complement IBM Watson Case Competitions held at colleges and universities across the U.S. to increase awareness of the transformative power of cognitive computing.
The Watson Case Competitions also will inspire students to advance their skills related to cognitive computing, and help them differentiate themselves in the marketplace as they prepare for 21st century careers. The case competitions are part of IBM’s global commitment to advancing the academic rigor and economic relevance of education, and providing graduates clear pathways to good jobs.
It can be challenging for a small country like the Czech Republic to compete in the global economy. As a country of just 10 million inhabitants, it’s important for our educational system to prepare graduates for 21st century jobs. In the same way that many trends and measures of liberal capitalism have developed here since the fall of the communist regime 25 years ago, it is now time to evolve our educational system to keep pace with the times.
To help make this happen, IBM joined parent groups and nonprofit organizations to launch Czech Talks About Education in 2012. The program was part of a national campaign to redesign the country’s educational system, and IBM has been instrumental in attracting broader stakeholder engagement and driving the discussion of how to modernize our approaches to teaching and learning.
I am a member of IBM’s Academic Initiative team, and recently volunteered to run a team-building activity at the Norwalk Early College Academy (NECA) Summer Academy in Connecticut. NECA is a partnership among the Norwalk Public Schools, Norwalk Community College and IBM, and will officially open this fall as Connecticut’s first P-TECH model school. As with all P-TECH schools, NECA will capitalize on a public-private partnership between an employer (IBM) and educators to provide an academically rigorous and economically relevant grades 9 through 14 education that will launch graduates into meaningful, middle-class careers. NECA graduates will receive both a high school diploma and a no-cost associate degree in technology, and will be first in line for consideration for jobs with IBM.
The NECA Summer Academy was attended by local dignitaries and media, school faculty, IBM volunteers and 50 bright young students anxious to get a head start on the school year. My role was to introduce attendees to the type of workplace learning and skills-building exercises that are part of every P-TECH school curriculum. Our project – to build a bridge out of marshmallows and dried spaghetti – was designed to get students to think and act like engineers…as a team. The students in my group ended up doing a great job on two separate bridge concepts.
IBM Supplier Connection helps America’s small businesses gain access to large company supply chain spending so they can grow and create new jobs. This free service offering small businesses “one-stop shopping” is powered by the IBM SmartCloud and streamlines the procurement process for both buyers and suppliers. More than 3,500 small companies already are connected to nearly 30 large-company buyers through Supplier Connection. In 2013 alone, participating corporations spent more than $1.5 billion with small businesses registered on Supplier Connection.
Last week, IBM was pleased to meet with President Obama to discuss his SupplierPay initiative to speed payments to small businesses, and contribute our expertise on building healthier supply chains and strengthening relationships between small and large businesses. The President’s SupplierPay initiative recognizes the importance of small business to the nation’s economy. The initiative calls upon large enterprises to provide financing help to their small suppliers and to pay them faster so they can grow and create more jobs.
At roughly 15 percent, Ghana’s high mother-to-child HIV transmission rate makes this sub-Saharan African nation among the world’s 22 countries with the highest incidence of HIV infection in pregnant women. The Ghanaian Ministry of Health is working with IBM, the Yale School of Medicine and other global partners to reduce Ghana’s mother-to-child HIV transmission rate to less than 1 percent by 2020 – just six years from now. Helping Ghana achieve this ambitious and essential goal is what attracted me to the recent IBM Corporate Service Corps/Yale School of Medicine collaboration with their Ministry of Health.
Africa is on the rise. It has the world’s youngest population, and soon will have the largest population of any continent. In addition to the tragic human cost of HIV, Ghana’s developing economy cannot afford to lose any more people to preventable disease. As part of the broader effort to reduce the country’s HIV transmission rate, my Corporate Service Corp (CSC) sub-team worked with the Ghana Health Service to develop ways to capture and analyze public health data, and refine it into actionable information in the fight against HIV.