Drafting Ideas

Wednesday July 5th 2017

We had a WAGiLabs session this morning and met with our Ghanaian collaborators right after. We worked on components of our Design Brief and presented our drafts to each other for feedback.


Religious and superstitious beliefs seem to influence people’s perception of disease and healing. I recall from one of my conversations at the hospital that a man I spoke with was primarily concerned about the spiritual protection of his pregnant wife. He claimed that his neighbors have used charms on him and his family before. He seemed to be confident in his ability to avoid them but he thought his wife’s pregnancy made her more vulnerable, especially since his work frequently took him far from home. This topic was addressed again by my partner, Aboagye, during our empathy mapping exercise. According to Aboagye, a recent nursing school graduate, one of the healing options patients might consider is treatment by a fetish priest.

My partner and I completed our empathy map and a first draft of what our Telemedicine smartphone application would look like. We named our Agency Ten| X. We believe our work could increase healthcare access by 10 times (X) or more while improving its convenience by a similar factor for patients. Our current smartphone app draft seeks to digitize aspects of the interaction between medical providers and patients and complete them before a clinical interview. This approach should allow providers to be informed about patients’ concerns ahead of time so they can have a more focused interview with them when they arrive in their office.

With regards to WAGiLabs, our volunteer program, children spent the day imagining and acting out the challenges that the disabled and injured face. They then discussed ways they could assist them in their daily activities. For instance, one student decided to hop to the whiteboard on one foot around the class as if he had a broken leg. After doing that he mentioned how difficult it would be to get through doors with an injured leg. The class chimed in with ideas to address this challenge. One idea was to automate doors that people with injured legs will frequently use.


This is the first time anyone is doing a Design Thinking focused program in Koforidua. However, the Design Thinking approach to problem solving that is guiding both our education volunteer program and healthcare research program seems easy to explain, understand and work with in both programs. We are also very fortunate to have Professor Cleckley’s expertise in the field guiding our work.  All those involved in the program also seem to work really well together, despite only meeting each other just a few weeks ago.

We will continue working on our Design Briefs for the draft deadline. After this week, we will take a week-long break from our volunteering program, after which we resume our sessions for an entire week as we prepare our students to develop and pitch their community improvement idea. Likewise, we will be preparing our Design Briefs to pitch our Telemedicine based healthcare improvement idea to staff of the nursing school and the hospital.

-Emmanuel Abebrese



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