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Thesis: The father’s role in child nutrition in Ethiopia

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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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Health Worker glossary in English and Tigrinyan

glossary

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.

Establishing a Global End to End Mobile Content Distribution Process for Health Workers

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.

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Health Extension Workers mLearning training workshops

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During the last weeks we’ve been training a cohort of 160 HEWs and their tutors/ trainers in Tigray (Ethiopia) on how to use OppiaMobile. These first training workshops are simply to get the HEWs and Tutors used to the phones, find out what problems and issues they may have, navigating the courses and activities, recharging, completing quizzes etc.

The training is going quite well, and the HEWs (mostly women) seem very eager to learn how to use the phones and soon became quite comfortable using them. Over the coming weeks we’ll introduce more OppiaMobile functionalities  and we’ll find out what challenges may exist and the feasibility for using smartphones for training support in this environment.

We had a few of technical issues that we are looking at, but this is to be expected given that we’re still in the technical feasibility stage. One of the issues we’re still finding is the level of English of the HEWs, so we are working to provide a glossary of the most common medical terms and definitions in both English and Amharic / Tigrinyan.

 

Thesis: Intestinal parasitosis and under-nutrition in Ethiopia. Prevalence, risk factors and prevention

Mahmud thesis

Congratulations to our colleague, Mahmud Abdulkader, who has just completed his PhD in “Intestinal parasitosis and under-nutrition in Ethiopia. Prevalence, risk factors and prevention”. Digital Campus has been collaborating with Mahmud for the past years, so we’re really pleased he’s now completed and we look forward to continue to working and collaborating with him once he’s back in his full time role in the College of Health Sciences at Mekelle University (Ethiopia).

 

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