The second phase of a mobile training platform created by AMREF, Accenture and the M-Pesa Foundation was launched today. There was a successful pilot of the initiative dubbed Health Enablement and Learning Platform (HELP) in Samburu, Mwingi and Kibera with 319 Community health workers and volunteers. The training was accessed via a basic mobile phone. The audio trainings were pre-recorded for ease of use by the health workers.
The M-Pesa foundation has injected Kshs 138 million for the second phase and contributed Kshs. 41 million to phase one.
The HELP programme has proved effective in areas where there is shortage of skilled health workers, lack health facilities, high poverty level or where there are cultural barriers.
Bob Collymore, Safaricom CEO – We have to use what we have to improve health of our people. We need more beyond Zero campaigns. Better maternal health conditions leads to a more productive workforce. It has been tried and worked at Safaricom.
It is important for the private sector to step in because they have power. Government can only work with taxes but private companies have innovation and technology. Private sector is complimenting government’s efforts.
Bob Collymore challenged other corporations to turn their minds to addressing challenge of maternal health. He said we have missed the mark on the millennium development goals. If the private sector doesn’t come in who will.
M-Pesa Foundation Executive Director, Les Baillie “We should move away from viewing Community health workers as an alternative and instead have them as an integral part of the state’s responsibility for health care delivery. This is the strategy the Brazilian government adopted and has worked amazingly,” he said.
The M-PESA Foundation is looking at interventions in health especially M-Health. The Foundation is able to leverage on technology – M-health working with Safaricom. The Foundation is looking for scalable projects, which are long term and HELP is one of those.
M-Pesa foundation is Kenya, committed to transforming life, leveraging on technology scalable projects that are sustainable and they are working with partners to drive their projects forward.
The project is currently in Kenya and phase 2 will be in Kenya for the next 2 years but after that it will go to the rest of Africa. M-Pesa foundation uses mobile technology and brings in partnerships. Safaricom is a key partner and they use technological developments from Safaricom, some of which are not for business but which can be used for development issues.
The focus of M-Pesa Foundation is health, education, water, environment and technology for good. HELP is a combination of some of those elements. M-Pesa Foundation in the HELP program is focusing on access to health services, patient health care financing, community information and education, training and up-skilling of health workers, infrastructure support (Safaricom opened a base station in Samburu), creating community partnerships, finance and economic empowerment. They have provided ambulances in Samburu. They are focusing on created awareness in maternal health issues with AMREF, establishment of facilities and recruitment of community health volunteers.
The results have been access to health services, knowledge and skills transfer volunteer community workers, reduced maternal mortality, increase in immunizations, and referrals of serious cases.
CEO AMREF, Lennie Banza -is best placed to understand African people. From the beginning when flying doctors started with 3 doctors the focus has always been on dealing with medical issues. AMREF has always used the tools of our time. Now it is using e-learning to train using mobile phones – m-learning.
The partnership between AMREF Health Africa and Ministry of Health (MOH), M-Pesa Foundation, Accenture and Mezzanine was formed 2 years ago. The vision was develop an innovative M-learning solution that would address the needs of health workers in general but specifically those of the lowest cadres who had limited opportunities for basic training and continuing medical education.
The Health Enablement and Learning Platform (HELP) is a blended solution delivered via a basic phone. The M-learning service is aligned to MOH’s curriculum and will provide complementary refresher training and continuous professional development of CHVs to help reinforce key-learnings and critical messages. To this end 318 CHVs from Mwingi (rural), Kibera (urban) and Samburu (nomadic) were trained and another 3000 CHVs and 60 CHEWs (supervisors of CHVs) will be trained in the next 24 months.
HELP vision beyond phase 11 is to develop an accredited mobile learning academy where health workers can gain credits, provide them with opportunities for career development and training in higher health professional disciplines. The programme will continue to develop and enhance CHV and CHEW content; integrate with third-party applications; measure the health and skills to succeed impact and run the business through established HELP leadership and operations. It will also become sustainable financially. The program will then be scaled and replicated all over Africa.
Accenture Foundation, Louise James – It is the important to harness the power of cross sector partnerships. No sector can deal with it alone. Businesses need a strong, thriving partnership for both social and economic outcomes. Corporate citizens need to be healthy. Healthy citizens are able to get a job or create employment.
“We recognize that merging mobile technology with health training systems offers opportunities for increased reach and scale, providing an effective channel for personalized, flexible learning for Community health workers and widespread improvement in the provision of healthcare throughout Kenya and beyond,”said Accenture Managing Director Louise James.
Accenture have invested 3 million dollars in both cash and skills investment. The impact has been improved learning outcomes, access info through phones. They are also working on bringing additional partners on board.
Partership Co-lead, Trip Allport – AMREF has used the tools of our time, planes, radios, computers and now mobile phones. HELP has many aspects, working with partners, it has creating a value preposition, lessened the burden on Ministry of Health, it is going expanded to other health cadres including supervisors and midwives and nurses, and it has successfully used technology has its central point.
M-PESA is creating an M-learning academy which will continue to improve on content, working with MOH, add content to so that it is rich. It is important to increase the value proposition so that private sector can join in. the private sector is needed not just for capital but also for their skills and technology. The project will also reach out to other MOH in other countries after it is scaled up.
Governor Samburu, Moses Lenokulal – HELP has made a change in the statistics. It has not just been CSR but a high impact initiative. There are challenges like poor infrastructure, large are not covered by mobile network, inadequate facilities, sociocultural issues, inadequate health facilities, lack of training institutions and inadequate community units. HELP has increased the number of hospital deliveries, family planning, child immunizations, and maternal health outcomes.
Khadija Kassachoon, Principal Secretary for Ministry of Health – Community health workers are sometimes the first and only contact of the community have with health workers. It is important to train those community health workers so that they are equipped so that the government achieves its objective of equitable, quality healthcare for all. There is need for innovative approaches in the health sector. The government cannot do it alone. There are benefits in having private-public partnerships.