I was interested to see this new publication from the CORE Group, which ‘improves and expands community health practices for underserved populations, especially women and children, through collaborative action and learning’, with support from USAID. Below are some extracts of particular relevance to HIFA, for further discussion:

Strengthening Community Health Systems through CHWs and mHealth

http://www.coregroup.org/storage/documents/Fall_Conference_2014/Strengthening_Community_Health_Systems_through_CHWs_and_mHealth.pdf

‘Community health workers (CHWs) have been called the “world’s most promising health workforce resource” in terms of enabling health systems in resource-constrained settings.’

‘What seems like a straightforward health promotion and service delivery strategy, of recruiting, training and supporting local people to supplement health professionals at the community level, is in fact quite complex.’

‘Increasingly, there is a trend towards using mobile technology to train and support CHWs.’

‘Amref Health Africa looked at whether they could reduce face-to-face training time and still retain the quality of the CHW’s training using mLearning in Kenya. Before getting started, Amref tackled key questions such as, what type of phone to use, basic or smart; whether to develop a platform independently or build

partnerships; what curriculum to use; and what the guiding principles of their mLearning initiative should be. At the start of the initiative, 97% of CHWs in Kenya had mobile phones, with about 70% of CHWs having a basic phone. Thus, Amref decided to leverage current technology (basic phones) in the hands of CHWs for scalability and sustainability reasons. Additionally, Amref established partnerships with Accenture, Safaricom/Vodafone, Mezzanine, and the Kenyan Ministry of Health (MOH). With Amref taking the lead, they developed the Health Enablement and Learning Platform (HELP).’