Story image

Kiwi IT specialist makes a difference in Africa – opportunities available

16 Jan 2017

You’ve probably heard about Mercy Ships, a faith-based not-for-profit that delivers free, world-class surgical and healthcare services, capacity-building and sustainable development aid to those without access in the developing world – all from big ships.

Every year, around 1,000 volunteers from up to 40 nations (including New Zealand) serve with Mercy Ships. While you can imagine there would be plenty of demand for professionals like surgeons, cooks, mariners and teachers, digitisation has seen IT positions become far more sought after.

Jonathan Clark, a trained information services specialist is a perfect example. In August 2016, Jonathan joined his wife Steph (a nurse) for three months aboard the Africa Mercy, in Benin, West Africa.

“I learned a lot about how technology can greatly improve healthcare globally while working for Orion Health,” explains Jonathan. He describes his role on the Mercy Ship as “An IT support guy for a lot of different business scenarios; a ship, a hospital, a bank, a TV service, an internet café, and the list goes on.  Each department has its own set of software and different setups of workstations.”

Jonathan had a number of vital tasks, including keeping essential hospital and maritime technology online and being involved in the roll-out of an IT initiative to benefit thousands of people in the most remote areas of Africa’s west coast.

Because many patients are too far away or too poor to make the trek to the hospital ship, a project utilising modified data-collecting app was initiated. The app has enabled the hospital ship’s mobile team that are travelling throughout remote regions of Benin to send key medical information back to the screening team on board who later travel to access all those pre-registered for surgery on board.

“I was involved in the roll out, and installed the app in devices; testing that the app forms worked before handing it off to the ship’s Medical Capacity Building teams,” Jonathan says. “It has been wonderful to be part of this improvement, even though it was a small part to play.”

For Jonathan, it has been a life-changing experience and one that he will never forget.

“The ship is a unique community,” reflects Jonathan. “Every job on the ship has an important purpose. It is an amazing example of Christians working together to make the world a better place.”

Click here to find out more about opportunities with Mercy Ships.

Apple's AirPods now come with 'Hey Siri' functionality
The new AirPods come with a standard case or a Wireless Charging Case that holds additional charges for more than 24 hours of listening time.
NZ investment funds throw weight against social media giants
A consortium of NZ funds managing assets worth more than $90m are appealing against Facebook, Twitter, and Google following the Christchurch terror attacks.
Poly appoints new A/NZ managing director, Andy Hurt
“We’re excited to be bringing together two established pioneers in audio and video technology to be moving forward and one business – Poly."
Unity and NVIDIA announce real-time ray tracing across industries
For situations that demand maximum photorealism and the highest visual fidelity, ray tracing provides reflections and accurate dynamic computations for global lighting.
NVIDIA announces Jetson Nano: A US$99 tiny, yet mighty AI computer 
“Jetson Nano makes AI more accessible to everyone, and is supported by the same underlying architecture and software that powers the world's supercomputers.”
Slack doubles down on enterprise key management
EKM adds an extra layer of protection so customers can share conversations, files, and data while still meeting their own risk mitigation requirements.
NVIDIA introduces a new breed of high-performance workstations
“Data science is one of the fastest growing fields of computer science and impacts every industry."
Apple says its new iMacs are "pretty freaking powerful"
The company has chosen the tagline “Pretty. Freaking powerful” as the tagline – and it’s not too hard to see why.