Project Lead(s): Mohini Bhavsar
While community health programs can be the most effective global health interventions and can reduce neonatal mortality by 50%, they face numerous challenges.
Many such programs are now using mobile tools to improve health service access and quality, but adopting mHealth can be challenging, high-risk and costly for programs in developing countries.
Dimagi is a social enterprise/software company that has developed a proof-of-concept model for organizations to test an open-source mHealth platform, CommCare, to build mobile applications for community health workers or other frontline worker programs in low-resource settings.
Deployed in over 50 countries, CommCare is one of the most-widely used mHealth tools, leveraging the power of mobile technology to support data collection and monitoring, service delivery and decision-support, education and counseling.
The current project was called the ‘Maturity Model’ and was built on CommCare as a means of enabling partners to achieve successful, innovative and sustainable mHealth deployments in West Africa.
Based on 56 mHealth proof-of-concepts Dimagi has run globally, the Maturity Model project consisted of an assessment and discussion guide that can be used by organizations to evaluate their program’s capabilities to support an mHealth intervention.
The Model is used for capacity-building for healthcare workers, as well as to help identify the barriers and key next steps for new and existing partners, to strengthen components of their mHealth program in order to prepare them to sustainably scale their intervention to more users, a larger geographic area or in new health domains.
Dimagi used the Maturity Model framework with organizations in West Africa to establish a sustainable and long-term vision for an mHealth program, based on tracking measurable progress towards an organization’s program objectives.
A total of 14 maturity assessments were completed, 19 capacity services delivered and two new capacity services developed.
As a result of the Model, a number of organizations have been able to demonstrate the impact their mHealth programs have had.
An example is a collaboration with Senegal’s National Malaria Control Program (NMCP) to use SMS-based mobile tools to prevent malaria medication stock-outs.
Users of the tool reported “the system is simple and easy to use,” with supervisors noting that the "District has henceforth access to information in real-time, not just monthly.”
Preliminary findings from this project demonstrated that the test site of Kolda experienced a greater reduction in stock-outs as compared to the control site of Médina Yoro Foulah. The test site experienced a 64% reduction in stock-out rates of two or more products, compared to 23% at the control site.
The next step in this project to assess the full impact of the tool will be to see the impact on stock-outs during peak malaria season.
The Dimagi team intends to apply for Transition To Scale (TTS) funding.