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.
The full open-access article can be found on the PlosOne website, and here is the abstract:
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:
Update (24th Oct 2013): the presentation Roman gave can now be downloaded from the mHealth Working Group website.
AMREF Ethiopia have just posted up the following vacancy for a Project Officer: http://www.ethiojobs.net/display-job/24608/Project-Officer.html. This role is to work on our mobile learning project, in partnership with AMREF and is to be based in Mekelle, Ethiopia. The closing date is 14th October.
Please send any applications directly to AMREF Ethiopia (to the address in the job advert), rather than to Digital Campus.
Alex has recently presented the OppiaMobile platform and our recent and ongoing projects with health workers in Ethiopia at the DaeSav Ethiopia Conference 2013 in Berlin “Innovation through Cooperation”.
Here is a copy of the presentation on SlideShare and we hope to be able to post soon a link to the video:
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.