Digital Campus, with support from mPowering Frontline Health Workers, is very pleased to announce the release of mobile adapted versions of the OpenWASH training programme.

Based closely on the training model used for HEAT for training Health Extensions Workers in Ethiopia, “OpenWASH is a set of innovative learning resources launched in 2016 by The Open University in partnership with World Vision Ethiopia and UNICEF through the ONEWASH PLUS programme, funded by UK aid from the UK Government. OpenWASH supports the Government of Ethiopia’s One WASH National Programme which aims to radically improve the provision of safe water and sanitation and bring significant benefits to millions of people.” (quote from the OpenWASH website).

The OpenWASH courses were released as Open Educational Resources (OER) under a Creative Commons license.

The adaptation involved taking the original print-focused course content and creating a version suitable for mobile delivery using the open source OppiaMobile learning platform, so the courses may be downloaded and used offline on Android devices.

Additional quiz questions for all the study sessions have been added, and non-country specific versions of the courses have also been created. The adaptation process we used has been documented here: http://oppiamobile.readthedocs.io/en/latest/author/adapt/openwash.html.

The adapted courses in Moodle can be found here: Ethiopia specific version or Globally adapted version and to view on your Android device, install the OppiaMobile app, then select the OpenWASH courses to be viewed offline.

Images of OpenWASH courses running offline on Android phone:

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Over the last few months, Digital Campus has been working with Instrat Global Health Solutions, Medical Aid Films and mPowering Frontline Health Workers to develop a video training program for frontline health workers in Ondo State, Nigeria.

The project launch event took place on 22 April 2016 attended by Honorable Commissioner of Health Ondo State Dr Dayo Adeyanju, the Permanent Secretary of the Ondo State Ministry of Health, the Executive Secretary and Directors Ondo State Primary Health Care Board and representatives of the 18 PHC facilities who will be taking the training.

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The training package consists of a series of the Medical Aid Films videos that have been translated into the local language, Yoruba, with a set of quizzes to test the users understanding of the videos. The package is all being run through OppiaMobile running on tablets held at the primary health care facilities. Digital Campus’s role in this program was mainly providing training to the local Instrat team for the content development and adaptation. We’re now extending this training to cover more of the technical aspects of supporting an OppiaMobile implementation.

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We’ve just published an updated version of the OppiaMobile app on the Google Play store.

Most of the updates are minor bug fixes and performance improvements, though we have now added the option for user to progress through courses in a linear way – so only allowed to move on to the next activity after completing the previous. This can be set up for the course when it is exported from Moodle, and there is still the option to allow the user to complete activities in any order they feel.

For full details of the updates, please see the release notes.

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Congratulations to our colleague, Selamawit Mengesha Bilal, who has just completed her PhD thesis entitled “The father’s role in child nutrition in Ethiopia”, as a scholar of the joint PhD program between Maastricht and Alcalá Universities. Digital Campus has been collaborating with Selam for the past years, so we’re really pleased she’s now completed her doctorate studies and we look forward to continue to working and collaborating with her once she’s back in her full time role in the College of Health Sciences at Mekelle University (Ethiopia), where she will be the first female professor with a PhD degree.

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We’ve recently released a glossary of health terms in both English and Tigrinyan, available as a Moodle course (at: http://moodle.digital-campus.org/course/view.php?id=265) and as a package that can be run offline in the OppiaMobile app.

All the terms defined are taken directly from the Ethiopian Health Extension Worker Level 4 upgrade training programme. Every section of all 13 modules has a series of terms (shown in bold in the training manuals) that the health workers are expected to understand, so we have extracted these and then supplied definitions in both English and Tigrinyan. In total, there are over 650 terms defined.

Many thanks to the Jhpiego Ethiopia team and the tutors and students of the Dr Tewolde Health Training College in Mekelle, Ethiopia for creating the translations.

Any feedback on how these definitions and translations could be improved is much appreciated.

mPowering Frontline Health Workers, Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Program and Digital Campus have just published a report (funded by Qualcomm Wireless Reach) on an open collaborative model for how health worker training content can be delivered in a way that will help to reduce duplication of efforts and decrease the time and cost of deploying mobile learning for frontline health workers. The process described helps to tie up the work we are doing with OppiaMobile and the ORB platform.

Download the full report (pdf, 3.6Mb)

Executive Summary:

This report represents an initial “blueprint” to create a scalable, locally sustainable, ‘end-to-end’ content distribution process that uses mobile technology to provide frontline health workers (FLHWs) access to relevant health content.

The core of the proposed process aims to: (1) increase content contributions to a centralized content management platform; (2) reduce duplication through collaborative content production and adaptation; (3) shorten the time and reduce the cost required to implement solutions for specific contexts and geographies by making the design process more standardized and systematic; and (4) establish an open collaborative model for the ongoing refinement of the process that can evolve independent of specific technologies. Establishing this process is a first step towards creating a common delivery system that allows organizations to focus on content creation and adaptation in order to accelerate the development of knowledge and skills for FLHWs and the communities they serve.

Despite significant milestones in the use of mobile devices by FLHWs, the inability of mobile health (mHealth) programs to go to scale without an ongoing infusion of external resources continues to challenge the global health development sector. One factor is the lack of evidence of the effectiveness of mHealth, which for government and donors diminishes the value of the investment in mHealth:

The phenomenal growth in the number of new [over 1300 mHealth] services has not, unfortunately, seen a parallel growth in the evidence base of these services, particularly
economic (cost) proof points. 90% of services are reliant on donor funding and/or a consumer payment model, both of which we would argue are unsustainable, given the short term nature of funding and the inability of consumers at the bottom of the pyramid to contribute significantly to out of pocket health expenses.

With increasing affordability of smartphones and steady improvements in wireless telecommunications infrastructure, the failure to scale mHealth solutions will become increasingly hard to explain. If the existing technology already lends itself to scale what are the barriers to achieving that goal, and to do so in a way that is sustained beyond initial donor investment?

In proposing an end-to-end process for content distribution, this report directly addresses the challenges to sustainable scale of mHealth programs.