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Staff Blog

Staff Blog

Dimagi in Myanmar, and opening borders to mHealth

by Saijai Liangpunsakul, Devika Sarin, & Rushika Shekhar

14 October 2014

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According to WHO, in 2000, Myanmar’s health care system was ranked the second worst in the world, with tens of thousands each year suffer from malaria, tuberculosis, and AIDS. More than third of the population live in a rural area and have limited access to healthcare.

But this past year, something happened in Myanmar: it began to open up to the world again. Technology restorations are ending in the country, and the price of Sim cards dropped from $120 to $1.50, making mobile phones much more accessible to people in Myanmar. Dimagi already has three CommCare projects in Myanmar, one permanent staff member, and we’re expecting to grow quickly. Taking advantage of the growing mobile network, we’re excited to see how mHealth could strengthen Myanmar’s health system and improve basic access to healthcare

In order to help organizations explore mHealth possibilities in Myanmar, on September 16th, Dimagi hosted its first workshop on Mobile Technology for Frontline Programs in Myanmar’s capital, Yangon. The workshop brought together over 35 local and international organizations from around Myanmar to discuss best practices, lessons learned, and strategies for implementing mobile technology interventions across different sectors.

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Training 300+ CHWs to use CommCare in Haiti

by Matt Levasseur, Haiti Field Manager

13 October 2014

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Dimagi and Pathfinder International conducted a series of large scale trainings throughout the month of September with twelve Haitian implementing partners in Port-au-Prince.  We trained more than 300 Haitian Community Health Workers (CHWs, or Agent Sante Communitere PolyvalentASCPs in French) to use Pathfinder and Dimagi’s mSante CommCare application to deliver health services.  With these trainings we began taking mSante, the SSQH-Center South mSante mHealth project, to scale.  This project is a collaboration between Dimagi, Pathfinder International, USAID, the Haitian Ministry of Health (Ministère de la Santé Publique et de la Population or MSPP) and 19 implementing partners.

We held the trainings at four locations around Port-au-Prince, and one in the southern city of Les Cayes.  Partner organizations provided space to conduct the trainings, as well as the CHWs.  Dimagi and Pathfinder delivered Handxom tablets loaded with the new mSante CommCare application and conducted four days of training in the use of mSante for service delivery and case management, along with instruction on the care and maintenance of the Haitian assembled tablets.

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[Français] Un blog du “self-starter” Aquaya : Utilisant CommCare pour la collecte de données de l’eau en Sénégal

by Annette Fay, the Aquaya Institute

7 October 2014

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Le blog suivant a été écrit par Annette Fay à Aquaya , l’une des seules organisations du secteur de l’eau qui combine les innovations éprouvées de la science et de la technologie avec des programmes sur le terrain . Aquaya est un self-starter CommCare , ce qui signifie qu’ils ont conçu et mis en œuvre leur propre projet de CommCare sans aucun soutien de Dimagi . Le blog ci-dessous est sujet de leur expérience dans l’implémentation CommCare pour un projet d’eau au Sénégal .

Lorsque les agents de santé prélèvent des échantillons des points d’eau ruraux au Sénégal, quelles informations supplémentaires doivent-ils noter comme observation ? Rien à signaler n’est pas la bonne réponse. Surtout si le point d’eau en question n’est enregistré nulle part, ou s’il n’y a qu’une seule personne dans l’équipe d’échantillonnage qui connaît le chemin – et il y a tout un village qui en dépend pour survivre. Cela fut le message de Chef national de qualité de l’eau du Service National de l’Hygiène aux agents de santé dans notre formation sur une nouvelle application de CommCare qui facilite la collecte et la soumission des données des analyses des échantillons d’eau en temps réél. Le SNH est un de 26 participants dans 6 pays d’Afrique sub-saharienne dans un projet de recherche de 3 ans, Contrôle pour une eau sûre (Monitoring for Safe Water, ou MfSW en anglais), qui cherche à déterminer les défis des agences de surveillance de santé et les sociétés d’eau à analyser la qualité de l’eau. Analyser l’eau est une étape obligatoire dans le fournissement d’eau potable et se passe dans les coulisses régulièrement dans les pays développés. À l’Institut Aquaya, une organisation à but non-lucratif des chercheurs et consultants qui améliore l’accès à l’eau potable et l’assainissement dans les pays en voie de développement, on identifie les défis à analyser l’eau et on développe des stratégies pour les résoudre.

Un des défis qu’on a observé dans les programmes d’analyse de qualité d’eau parmi plusieurs de nos partenaires en Afrique sub-saharienne est celle de la gestion des données : même s’ils arrivent à faire des analyses, envoyer les résultats au bureau régional ou national nécessite le transport et beaucoup de temps du personnel. Le programme de suivi de la qualité d’eau de notre partenaire en Sénégal, le Service National de l’Hygiène (SNH) dans MfSW a eu beaucoup de succès depuis qu’il a commencé en août 2013. Ils ont exécuté 2575 analyses d’eau pour 5 paramètres dans 13 sous-brigades (l’unité du centre de santé la plus petite) – une quantité importante des données de la qualité d’eau à envoyer depuis dess régions ruraux isolées, à standardiser et à interpréter. Beaucoup des sous-brigades luttent pour emprunter un ordinateur d’un autre bureau gouvernemental afin d’envoyer les données par email au bureau national ou envoient des fiches de données avec des collègues qui voyagent par hasard au bureau régional.

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From CommCare self-starter Aquaya: Collecting water quality data in Senegal with CommCare

by Annette Fay, the Aquaya Institute

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The following blog post was written by Annette Fay at Aquaya, one of the only organizations in the water sector that combines proven innovations in science and technology with on-the-ground programs. Aquaya is a CommCare self-starter, meaning that they have  designed and implemented their own CommCare project without any support from Dimagi. The blog post below is about their experience implementing CommCare for a water project in Senegal. 

When health agents take water samples from rural water points in Sénégal, what additional information should they record? Rien à signaler – nothing to report/no observation – is not the answer. Especially if that water point isn’t recorded anywhere, or only one person on your team knows how to drive there – and an entire community depends on that water to survive.

This was emphasized by the national Water Quality Manager at Service National de l’Hygiene (SNH) to health agents in our training on a new CommCare app that enables collection and submission of water sampling data through mobile phones in real time. SNH is one of our 26 partners across 6 countries in sub-Saharan Africa that are part of the 3-year research project, Monitoring for Safe Water (MfSW), that seeks to understand the challenges health surveillance agencies and water utilities face in testing water quality. Testing for water is a critical component in providing safe drinking water and happens behind the scenes on a regular basis in developed countries. We at the Aquaya Institute, a non-profit research and consulting organization that improves access to safe water and sanitation in developing countries, are identifying the challenges faced by institutions in testing drinking water and working to find strategies to solve them.

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MOTECH Suite Workshop: A Quick Recap

by Andrea Fletcher

21 September 2014

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What is mhealth? In 10 years what will mhealth look like? What can mhealth do in Ghana?

These are the questions we posed to participants at the first ever MOTECH Suite workshop held by Dimagi and the Grameen Foundation at the Kofi Annan Center for Excellence in ICT in Accra, Ghana.

Amid a group coming from an array of organizations working across sectors in Ghana, we discussed strategies for implementing mobile technology, best practices in scaling projects, and ideas for innovative collaborations.

After workshop participants discussed mobile technology and lessons learned from MOTECH Suite implementations, one participant said:

“In Ghana, mHealth’s most notable potential is to strengthen health care systems and improve health care outcomes for remote populations, producing evidence-based results, be adopted by the Ministry of Health, support community case management, and provide platforms for improved, cost-saving interventions.”

“The organizations represented at the workshop could use mHealth to monitor performance against goals, to improve workforce management and data collection and analysis, to improve the cost-effectiveness of interventions, and to achieve new and complex objectives.”

Thanks to all those who attended, and we look forward to hosting more MOTECH Suite Workshops in the future!

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