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We are closing the day with the participants trying their hand (or their leg) at the traditional Vietnamese bamboo dance. The awkward attempt at dancing brings an end to the eventful first day of the EpiHack Vietnam event. I am posting a photo of people doing a dance off the internet because I didn’t take any photos.

I am currently at the beautiful Serena resort in Hoa Binh, Vietnam enjoying the delicious food and coffee here amongst weirdly shaped hills and water buffaloes that would probably make delicious momos. Here is the view from the place I am staying.

Over 50 participants from 8 different countries have gathered at the beautiful Serena resort in Hoa Binh, Vietnam to hack away and come up with digital solutions tackling the problem of epidemics in Vietnam as part of an Epihack event.

 

What is Epihack?

Epihack is a collaborative convening that brings technologists and epidemiologists together to create digital technological solutions that address specific public health issues regarding epidemics.  It’s a 5 day event which is suppose to hack out prototypes of software that help deal with epidemics before the end. If you want to know more about them you can visit their page:  https://epihack.org/.

 

What are we doing over the period of 5 days?

Although the deaths through communicable/infectious diseases have gone down considerably they are still a threat due to the following reason:

  • Development of microbial resistance
  • Increasing globalization resulting in inter city links
  • Factory farming

We are working in tackling the risk of infectious diseases through the 3 factors by working on

  • Behavioral Change
  • Data collection, validation and visualization

 

Karkhana has been a big advocate of interdisciplinary collaboration. Yantra was a collaboration between technologists and artists, K_Space was a collaboration between artists, educators, engineers etc to come up with a space curriculum. We also push for integration of multiple subject matters (STEAM) in our classes. EpiHack as I mentioned earlier is a collaboration between health professionals and technologists. It is an interesting opportunity for me to be part of this collaboration and see what I can give back to Karkhana from this experience.

Also we have been pushing for our classes to be more community focused i.e. students working towards solving real community problems. With us coming up with solutions for epidemics in rural part of Vietnam, I get to witness and be part of community based problem solving in action.

Lastly it’s an opportunity for me to understand the education landscape in SouthEast Asia by interacting with the EpiHack participants.

– Hasin Shakya

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