Monday 29 March 2010

KM and the eradication of smallpox

An excellent post here from Nancy Dixon about the role that deliberate learning played during the WHO campaign to eradicate smallpox. Talk about value delivery!!

I won't quote from it, other than to copy Nancy's summary of the learning success factors, as you really need to read the whole thing. Here's her summary of why it worked

• The initial strategy of the WHO smallpox team did not succeed and they were able to shift strategies in mid-stream
• The initial technology proved difficult, and although the jet injector was one of the reasons the project had originally seemed feasible, they switched to the simpler solution of the bi-furcated needle
• Field workers considered themselves co-researchers, creating testable hypotheses in the field and reporting the results
• Field workers had authority to experiment, adapting their practice to local situations
• Data collected in the field about both practices and results were systematically distributed
• Everything was open to question – even long standing practices like swabbing the vaccination site
• All headquarters staff spent one third of their time in the field to reduce the gap between themselves and fieldworkers
• Policies promoted the collection of accurate rather than politically correct data

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