By Hannah Wanjiru
The project held a highly successful stakeholder’s forum on March 18, 2015 at Amref Health Africa Headquarters-auditorium. The meeting drew 30 stakeholders from the Ministry of Health both national officials, county officials and various partners such as UNICEF, medic mobile, World Vision and Special Education Professionals. The agenda of the meeting was to disseminate project findings and discuss a way forward for the project ahead of the research project coming to an end in June 2015. The mCHW project, for the past 17 months, has been carrying out research on the use of mobile technology to integrate training and supervision of Community Health Volunteers in Kibera and Makueni around developmental milestones of children under 5.
The stakeholders were briefed about the background of the project, various research methodologies used during the research process and the findings of the project. Participants voiced enthusiasm about the project and the impact it had so far in as far as training and supervision of Community Health Volunteers was concerned.
Notable impact of the use of the Referral App so far included the following:
Improvement of CHV Skills and Practice
The CHVs have an increased knowledge on the development of children under five years. They had no prior training in this particular area and the Referral App through the MDAT tool is now a cornerstone in their knowledge about under 5 childhood developmental milestones; The CHVs have improved their referral decision making as they now make more informed referrals; there is now a transfer of knowledge between communities – this is primarily done through the MCHW whatsapp platform and exchange visits between the two communities
Improvement in Supervision and Mentorship for the CHVs
There is noted improvement in the support and assessment of CHVs work performance, as well as improved mentorship of the CHEWs to the CHVs by linking data collected on practice to face to face visits and support; Instantaneous feedback to the CHVs from the CHEWs acted as a motivation for the CHVs as they felt their supervisors were aware and recognized the work they were doing for the communities.
Increased awareness and raising of education levels in the community and at the household level
Mothers now know more about child development stages in both localities and are also aware of delayed milestones and disabilities of children and thus monitor children accordingly.
In the afternoon session, participants were put into groups to discuss the findings and the way forward for the project during its final remaining months. The consensus was that there was need for advocacy at both National and County levels to push for uptake of the mobile App given its benefits, integration with other existing Amref m-health projects and need to find a way around the use of the smart phone which was a limiting factor for uptake by other community units, so that further scale up is possible.
The final stakeholder’s forum would be held in June 2015.