Canada funds mHealth Scale Up Projects in West Africa

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Dimagi builds on existing model to scale up use of mobile technology for health programs

Toronto, Canada and Dakar, Senegal – Community health programs could be the most important global health intervention, and many such programs are using mobile technology to improve health services access and quality. A team of innovators at Dimagi have received a $112,000 grant from Grand Challenges Canada, funded by the Government of Canada, to sustainably scale health programs using Dimagi’s open-source mobile technology in West Africa, a region that is quickly adopting the use of information and communications technology for development (ICT4D).

Having experience with over 300 mobile technology projects around the world, Dimagi has learned that adopting mHealth can be challenging and costly for programs in developing countries. Dimagi’s Proof of Concept approach significantly lowered the barriers to implementing mHealth interventions in this region. Building off of the established Proof of Concept approach, Dimagi developed a framework, called the Maturity Model, to enable pilot projects to deliver value at scale by focusing on capacity building, monitoring and evaluation and growing the number of health workers using the system. Dimagi is uniquely positioned, through funding provided by Grand Challenges Canada, to support organizations using mobile technology to bring their programs from the demonstration phase to more a sustainable and scalable level, extending our reach beyond one place or group to build an ecosystem where innovation and scale co-exist.

Principal Investigator Mohini Bhavsar said: “mHealth programs have demonstrated improvements in health service delivery and program management. We often see successful pilots struggle to make the leap to scale their programs. Over the years, we have gathered lots of experience on what it takes to overcome these barriers. The Maturity Model is an implementation approach that helps us focus on specific program areas and capacities that need to be strengthened within a program over time to achieve more impact and scale. Through the Grand Challenges Canada grant, we have the opportunity to grow the capacity of mHealth programs in West Africa so that they can achieve the full potential that mHealth promises.”

The $112,000 grant is part of Grand Challenges Canada’s Stars in Global Health program, which supports unique, transformative ideas for addressing health challenges in developing regions.

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About Dimagi
Dimagi Inc. is a B-corp certified, socially-conscious technology company that helps organizations deliver quality mHealth solutions to urban and rural communities around the world. Dimagi has a strong history of successful project execution acting as a technical lead partnered with an in-country implementation lead. Dimagi has years of experience participating in and leading research for healthcare delivery in underserved populations. Our expertise in both research and implementation has proved invaluable in properly designing pilot projects that can go to scale.

Dimagi’s core product, CommCare, is one of the most widely adopted, technically advanced, and evidence-based mobile platforms for frontline workers in developing countries, with over 180 active projects in 40 countries. CommCare applications span a variety of health areas, including nutrition, antenatal care, neonatal care, family planning, and case management of child illness, as well as in processes for improving accountability and supervision in these areas. CommCare also supports agriculture, microfinance, education, and training applications. Dimagi’s Software as a Service (SaaS) approach allows stakeholders and users to all access a toolset and to store, upload, and report on data, facilitating scalability and longevity of projects.

About Grand Challenges Canada
Grand Challenges Canada is dedicated to supporting Bold Ideas with Big Impact in global health. We are funded by the Government of Canada; we support innovators in low- and middle-income countries and Canada. The bold ideas we support integrate science and technology, social and business innovation to find sustainable solutions to health challenges – we call this Integrated Innovation®. Grand Challenges Canada focuses on innovator-defined challenges through its Stars in Global Health program, and on targeted challenges in its Saving Lives at Birth, Saving Brains and Global Mental Health programs. Grand Challenges Canada works closely with Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC), the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada (DFATD) to catalyze scale, sustainability and impact. We have a determined focus on results, and on saving and improving lives.

Mohini Bhavsar
Dimagi West Africa
Senior Regional Manager

Lode Roels
Grand Challenges Canada
Press Officer



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