Equipping CHWs with tools in Kitui County, Kenya

Health systems, in their current forms, exclude people from care. However, a global network of 3.3 million Community Health Workers (CHWs) – committed and trusted members of the communities where they live and work – are an integral part of a new model of proactive and patient-centric care, one that envisions better, faster, and more equitable care for all. 

As steward and lead contributor to the Community Health Toolkit (CHT), Medic works with partners across 15 countries to design, build, and support open-source tools that streamline integrated, community-based health systems. Our aim is to support CHWs, their supervisors, and health teams with the right tools to improve the delivery of doorstep healthcare. 

Medic has supported Catholic Medical Mission Board (CMMB) since 2017, equipping 388 Community Health Volunteers (CHVs) with CHT-supported apps to enable antenatal care, family planning, postnatal care, childhood immunizations, malnutrition, HIV testing referrals, integrated community case management, and tuberculosis screening. Health workers rely on these tools for their day-to-day activities, as they travel from house-to-house, providing essential care to their neighbors. 

Through constant training, I have been empowered with knowledge and education that has enabled me to effectively communicate with my community members. I have seen how open and receptive my community has been to my work especially when discussing family planning issues; more women are talking about it while men have become open to it.

Telesia Mwema, CHV

Through a burgeoning partnership with  CircleIT – a B Corporation based in Oklahoma City, USA – 177 mobile phones were donated to support the Medic-supported CMMB program based in Kitui County, Kenya. The devices were delivered during a Health Symposium organized by CMMB, attended by the Deputy Governor of Kitui and many representatives from the eight county constituencies. The event focused on sharing gains in community health, Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health (RMNCAH), Community Health Systems Strengthening (CHSS), and Water and Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH).

By using mobile phones, CHVs are able to do their jobs effectively and efficiently bringing about quality data that will go a long way in improving the services we give our communities.

Redempter Mwende Malusi, CHV Supervisor, Kitui County.
Deputy Governor Augustine Kanani presents 177 donated mobile devices to CMMB CHV supervisor Redempter Mwende

During the symposium, CHWs CMMB presented to the team the steps taken when conducting a monthly screening visit. After logging into the app, they are able to follow different procedural steps that take key data which helps track the progress of the patient and highlight any follow up steps the CHW needs to make check in with the patient in the coming months.

Snippet of CHT demonstration video at the event

Aligning strategies and resources with local and national governments is critical to how Medic does our work, leaning heavily on our values of openness and solidarity. During the symposium in Kitui, Public Health Officer (PHO) Simba Mutungare affirmed the importance of working directly with CHVs, as they are key in enacting preventative services at the community level. Simba, who has been a PHO for 30 years, still greatly enjoys being able to work with CHVs every day. 

We have been able to train CHVs more about mHealth tools through the phones given by Medic [and CircleIT]. This, in collaboration with devoted training on malnutrition, immunization and WASH,has greatly improved the health conditions in our communities.

Simba Mutunga, Public Health Officer, Kitui, Kenya

As we continue to enhance digital health programs to achieve SDG3: Good Health and Well-Being, we envision a world where health workers are supported, trained, supervised, paid, and equipped with well-designed technology. In solidarity with the CHWs we support in Kitui and across the world, and under the leadership of the Community Health Impact Coalition (CHIC), Medic advocates for professional CHWs, including fair and consistent compensation. 

I would appreciate financial support as this will allow me to focus on what I like; working for my community as opposed to looking for something else to supplement my livelihood.

Telesia Mwema, CHV

Alongside a coalition of partners ranging from community-based organizations to ministries of health to academic institutions, and now CircleIT, Medic continues to expand its efforts to equip more health workers with free and open-source technology as they deliver care in the hardest-to-reach communities.

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