From design to use: The benefits to CHVs of using REFER mobile web app

From design to use: The benefits to CHVs of using REFER mobile web app

Community Health Volunteers (CHVs)* in Kenya provide basic primary health care services at household level and serve as a link to existing health infrastructure in communities. The REFER mobile web app provides important support for CHVs working on the survival of the under-five population. It complements child welfare clinics provided at health facility level and nutritional assessments (MUAC) done by CHVs at household level.  For the CHVs, our analysis thusfar ha indicated that the app has helped improve peer support in referral decision making and learning. For the supervisors, it has supported them in monitoring and motivating CHVs and in offering expert advice based on assessment reports received. Linkages between the CHVs and health systems have been strengthened

CHV-REFERwebappAs part of their job, CHVs refer and follow up on children to ensure attendance to welfare clinics and growth monitoring. With the REFER app, the referral comes with comprehensive child development assessment report capturing the four sectors of development; gross motor, fine motor, language and speech, and social sector. Preliminary findings indicate that the REFER app has been responsive not only to the CHVs learning and practice needs but also households’ and indeed community needs. Since its inception, the CHVs have been able to provide a focused discussion with caregivers at a household level and community level (during community meetings) on child development and offer advice based on the feedback and support from colleagues and supervisor. It has sparked conversations on child development.

The assessments are based on conversation-stimulating questions in the app that make the process participatory. The caregiver is able to respond to the questions and, where possible, the child is engaged in activities to determine their achievement of the milestones. The CHVs have been able to successfully use props available at household level as an example to caregivers to detect delays and/or stimulate achievement of specific milestones. At any point during the assessment, the application is able to support calls or text messages to supervisors and/or colleagues for any support required. The report generated out of the assessment is automatically sent to the supervisor for review and feedback.

Early detection and referral of children with developmental concerns, continuous support for caregivers and enabled CHVs through responsive mobile technology innovations that integrate learning and practice are sure guarantees to poverty alleviation at household, community and national levels. This is the ultimate goal of the mCHW project.

*Note: CHVs were formerly known as CHWs in Kenya.

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