Making the leap: Employing mobile devices to deliver Telehealth

by Amref Health Africa

By Raymond Obare, Communications and Relationship Officer, HBCC Project

COVID-19 has provided new opportunities for innovation and adaptation in healthcare service delivery especially in the space of telehealth.

With the extensive penetration of mobile phones and connectivity in Kenya, Amref Health Africa in Kenya explored the use of mobile phones to build the capacities of Community Health Workers (CHWs) across target areas.

This created new touch-points with stakeholders via a platform that is available, affordable and personal. Working with the Ministry of Health, Amref deployed Leap, a scalable, interactive mobile learning solution to reach CHWs via their mobile devices.

Abdallah Rutah, COVID-19 Coordinator, Department of Health, Kwale County, explains that the platform has been instrumental in creating awareness and disseminating behaviour change information to CHWs. “Accessible from anywhere, our CHWs have a personalised, vetted and trusted resource to help them improve their knowledge, on matters pertinent to their communities or areas of interest.’’

A Mobile device in use by a Community Health Worker during the Leap training in Kwale County

Covering five modules, the Mums Magic Hands course combines interactive SMS and audio training with quizzes, equipping CHWs with the knowledge required to support their communities in preventing and containing the Coronavirus. Moreover, it measures enrolled learners’ progress through evaluations, quizzes and practical exercises, real-time performance reports and supervision tools.

Learners can access content from Leap’s accredited database while also allowing them to interact and share knowledge with their peers through group chat, communicating anytime, anywhere, at the touch of a button. Multi-lingual (English and Kiswahili), the platform also supports learner decisions at the community level through diagnostic trees and enabled learner support via a helpdesk system.

Designed as Africa’s first fully integrated mobile community health platform, Leap is available in 9 countries and it is accelerating the path to empowering a million CHWs while strengthening community health systems. So far, 74,000 CHWs have been on-boarded onto the platform, 35,000 trained through it and 3.5 million community household members reached with the much-needed health education, basic first aid, nutrition and referral services.

CHWs pose for a photo after going through the leap training

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