This morning I gave a presentation about OppiaMobile to the TelSpain conference in Madrid. At the conference I meet several colleagues from projects and work I was doing at the Open Uni over 5 or 6 years ago, so was great to meet them again. My presentation was video recorded, so will post up a link to the full video once it is available.
We are very pleased to welcome Marijs Carrin to the Digital Campus team. Marijs is responsible for our content development for primary health care, specifically focused on our current DFID project in Ethiopia. You can read Marijs’s full bio on our team page.
We have just had a research paper accepted and published on “Meeting community health worker needs for maternal health care service delivery using appropriate mobile technologies in Ethiopia”. The paper describes our approach and the technologies used in our recent project working with health extension workers in Ethiopia using mobile technologies for recording and managing maternal care visits. We anticipate that the results and approach outlined in this paper would be of great interest to others working in the field of mobile health.
Mobile health applications are complex interventions that essentially require changes to the behavior of health care professionals who will use them and changes to systems or processes in delivery of care. Our aim has been to meet the technical needs of Health Extension Workers (HEWs) and midwives for maternal health using appropriate mobile technologies tools.
We have developed and evaluated a set of appropriate smartphone health applications using open source components, including a local language adapted data collection tool, health worker and manager user-friendly dashboard analytics and maternal-newborn protocols. This is an eighteen month follow-up of an ongoing observational research study in the northern of Ethiopia involving two districts, twenty HEWs, and twelve midwives.
Most health workers rapidly learned how to use and became comfortable with the touch screen devices so only limited technical support was needed. Unrestricted use of smartphones generated a strong sense of ownership and empowerment among the health workers. Ownership of the phones was a strong motivator for the health workers, who recognised the value and usefulness of the devices, so took care to look after them. A low level of smartphones breakage (8.3%,3 from 36) and loss (2.7%) were reported. Each health worker made an average of 160 mins of voice calls and downloaded 27Mb of data per month, however, we found very low usage of short message service (less than 3 per month).
Although it is too early to show a direct link between mobile technologies and health outcomes, mobile technologies allow health managers to more quickly and reliably have access to data which can help identify where there issues in the service delivery. Achieving a strong sense of ownership and empowerment among health workers is a prerequisite for a successful introduction of any mobile health program.
Yesterday, Roman presented the OppiaMobile platform & solutions at a meeting organised by mPowering Frontline Health Workers. This is an innovative public-private partnership designed to improve child health by accelerating the use of mobile technology by health workers around the world. The mHealth Alliance coordinates and amplifes the resources and expertise of their founding members: USAID, UNICEF, Frontline Health Workers Coalition, Qualcomm, Vodafone, Intel, MDG Health Alliance, GlaxoSmithKline, Praekelt Foundation and Absolute Return for Kids.
Here’s a short video about the work of mPowering Frontline Health Workers:
It was great to have been invited to speak at the conference and make many more contacts. We hope to be able to tie up our work on OppiaMobile with the work of Ahadoo – a new start up in Ethiopia developing mobile learning tools, currently focused on secondary education.
We have recently set up the advisory board for Digital Campus, so we’d like to welcome Ann, Lesley-Anne, Nuriye and Paul to the team. You can find out more about their backgrounds and experience on our advisory board team page. We’re really pleased to have such an experienced group of people to help advise us.
We’ve recently given out the certificates of participation for all the Health Extension Workers, midwives and supervisors who have been working with us for the last two years. We really appreciate all the effort and time they have put into making the project a success. Here are a couple of photos of Araya presenting some of the certificates:
Through our recent funding from DFID, we are looking to recruit a Digital Content Developer for Primary Healthcare to work with us on this project. A brief overview of the role:
You will be working with our medical and technical team to create and source high quality primary healthcare training content, activities and assessment for rural health workers in their continuous professional development activities.
You will ensure that all the training material is prepared to the highest standards of presentation, accuracy and educational value.
The ideal candidate will have excellent organisational skills and an ability to keep to tight deadlines. Proven experience of instructional design and teaching is essential.
To strengthen our financial and grant management, we are currently looking to recruit a volunteer Advisory Board Member with financial management experience. The key skills and experience we are looking for include:
Experience of providing financial management advice and oversight
Experience of the not-for-profit/charity sector
Implementing best practice for managing donor funded projects
Budgeting, cash flow and financial forecasting
Our expectation is that this role would involve a commitment of 1-2 days per month. The Digital Campus team are all home-based workers, so our board meetings are usually held via skype at the end of each month.