Thank you for your comment! We agree with you that direct interaction with local users is essential for validating these types of ideas. We work very closely with our partners in West Africa and have hosted other types of workshops and conferences in the region. We decided on DC as the hosting site for this particular workshop for a variety of factors, but we engaged all of the regional Ministries of Health in a workshop in May on strengthening health information systems. Several of the recommendations coming out of that conference were used to shape the content of the DC workshop. We will continue to engage closely with the Ministries of Health and other regional actors as we push these ideas forward
It is absolutely true that lack of electricity and internet connectivity hinders a lot of potential work in the West Africa region. USAID is also working to address these through a variety of initiatives, including Power Africa, to bring electricity and clean power to sub-Saharan Africa.