A Mobile Phone-Based Training Platform for Health Extension Professionals to Fight COVID-19 Pandemic Launched

by Noah Wekesa

Addis Ababa, 18 May 2020: As part of the Ethiopia Government’s Preparedness and Response Plan for COVID-19, Ethiopia’s Ministry of Health (MOH) has launched a new mobile phone training platform for frontline health workers to help prevent and control COVID-19 outbreak.

Ethiopia is one of the most vulnerable African countries to COVID-19 infection and transmission with 352 cases reported as of 18 May 2020. The Government of Ethiopia has put stringent measures in place to reinforce its preparedness to contain the pandemic. Building the capacity of health workers to improve surveillance, early detection, track the spread of the disease, and treat cases is key in making a difference in the fight against the pandemic. Mobile Health solution is, therefore, one potential avenue to support these efforts.

Leveraging the innovative mobile technology – Leap, the Ministry of Health in Ethiopia has launched a mobile phone platform to train health workers on COVID-19 and their supervisors. Combining interactive SMS and audio training with quizzes, and peer learning tools, this new mobile phone based learning platform helps health workers equip themselves with the skills and knowledge required to support their communities in preventing and controlling the COVID 19 pandemic. The health extension workers involved in the training read automatically generated SMS texts interact with audio messages, using their own basic or smart mobile phones from wherever they are. This will enable them to identify and refer suspected cases as well as prevent possible transmission.

The Federal Ministry of Health partnered with Amref health Africa rolls out the training across the country, reaching thousands of health workers. All health extension workers will be trained in a month period and actively engaged in the prevention and control of COVID-19. Going forward, this platform will also be used to train on other non-COVID health issues.

Dr Lia Tadesse

Minister of Health, Ethiopia

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