The Challenges of Salting Sub-Saharan Africa

July 30, 2015 - Chad Garrick

Salting Sub-Saharan Africa

According to Vernon Cole, a software engineer at eHealth Africa, Nigeria isn’t lacking for princes who want to share their wealth with complete strangers. But the work Cole does in Nigeria using SaltStack is much more altruistic than a phishing scam. eHealth Africa provides software and infrastructure support to healthcare providers in Sub-Saharan Africa who are working to eradicate diseases such as Ebola and polio.

The challenges associated with providing any type of service in Africa include political unrest, government corruption, and war. But probably the largest obstacle in terms of the work performed by eHealth Africa is the lack of infrastructure and an unreliable power grid. In his Saltconf15 talk, Cole focuses on how SaltStack is used under these challenging circumstances to deploy a computer system that helped eliminate Ebola in Nigeria.

When eHealth Africa was called in to help fight the Ebola outbreak in Nigeria, it modified an existing process used to track polio vaccinations. It identified individuals who may have been in contact with the virus and gave them a cell phone with GPS and instructed the individuals to keep it charged and with them at all times. This allowed healthcare workers to track the individuals and monitor for Ebola symptoms. The data was sent to a formhub server and a GIS mapping server that were managed by SaltStack salting sub-saharan Africa. Overall the effort was very successful.

For more specifics on how eHealth Africa Salted Sub-Saharan Africa to fight Ebola, watch the SaltConf15 talk embedded below. Also, more great talks from SaltConf15 can be accessed from the SaltConf15 video content blog post.