How Did Don Vierra Become the World Renowned Consultant in Health Information System?
For those in Health Informatics, the name “Vieira” might not sound strange. Immanuel Antonius, professionally known as Don Vieira, is a successful and independent consultant who has reached horizons beyond expectations. The 32-year old Technoprenuer has ticked off projects, which most consultants still consider as a dream.While he was brought up in Namibia, his expertise and skills were never limited to the boundaries. If Namibia is his primary home, his work stations or contracted duty stations have become the secondary residence where he used to spend most of his days.
As far as his academic background is concerned, he holds an Honors’ degree in Computer Science, Advanced diploma in Monitoring and Evaluation, certifications on Health Information Systems (HIS) and A masters’ degree in Biometrics from the University of Paris – Est créteil in France.
Like people dream of being associated with tech giants such as Facebook or Google, he achieved the milestone of serving for similar giants in the health sector. Some of his notable associations are with World Health Organization (WHO), Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), United Nations (UN), United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), IntraHealth International, Global Fund, Population Service International (PSI), Jay Snow Inc. and the list goes on.
Apart from his experience in healthcare informatics, language is one of those factors that contributed to his stature elevation. His understanding about seven languages, including English, Spanish, French and Portuguese, has helped him deal with people from different backgrounds.In other words, there has never been any force that stopped him from achieving his goals across the borders.
With Ten (10) years of experience, he has built and supported several national systems such as the e-Health, Malaria, TB, PMTCT, Nutrition, VMMC and HIV- just to mention a few. He also trained more than 20,000 people including government officials, managers, nurses, doctors and technical people to bring significant changes in their methods of elevating the quality of life for the public.
Vieira has developed strong professional relationships with several organisations in Kenya, Uganda, Mocambique, South Africa, Namibia, Angola, Germany, India, DRC, Zambia and the United States.Most of them used to admire his determination and skills for giving the best in every area.
If he is assigned to a work, there is no force that can stop him from transforming a novice into an expert. Below are three of some of the notable milestones that gave a kick start to his career:
1. A Discrete Choice Experiment for pharmacists- he worked with Dr. Peter Rockers, an assistant professor in the Department of Global Health at the Boston University School of Public Health, to bring visible changes in the health informatics. At the time of experiment, Dr. Peter Rockers was at Harvard Medical School.
2. Vieira wore the big shoe when he took over the position of HIS Technical Advisor from Jim Sitzer, who went to become the Director in Public Health for the Umatilla County Health Department, Oregon in the US.
3. During Vieira’s venture as a Technical Advisor for JSI, he developed a web-based master facility (MFL) for Namibia. It consists of a map indicating the location of all public health facilities in the country.The list aims to assist public locate services provided by the nearest health facilities, on the other hand, it also aims to guide the ministry of health in planning and equity in resource allocation and distribution. The MFL was built based on WHO guidelines
Due to internet connectivity issues in most rural áreas, the Health Extension Workers were forced to use paper registers to collect patients’ information. This led to poor data quality since paper would torn or get lost. With an urge to find an appropriate solution, he created a mobile app that has the capability to store data without internet connectivity.
Over the past few years, Vieira has won few accolades and gained international recognition for his consultancy expertise.His efforts have also managed to attract new audiences including influential decision makers from government authorities to NGOs. His passion for innovation and Technopreneurshipis what that has always made him different from others.
For his next project, he promised to create what most government bodies and NGOs have failed to implement- “The Situation Room” that will bring new changes to the health sector.