In my experience as a CHEW in Kibera I have found it very interesting to use technology to communicate with the community, the CHVs and my supervisor. The package on monitoring developmental milestones in children 0-59 months (under 5) has proved to be of great benefit.
Some of the benefits I have realized so far are the fact that the CHV are now having a guide in assessing the children which makes the process more professional. The same has also boosted the skills of the CHVs and early detection and referral of children with developmental challenges. On supervision and monitoring, the CHVs in this project can be monitored through by the reports that they submit to me as their supervisor. Unlike before, interaction is instant and therefore the CHVs are able to give accurate information to the community at any given time which promotes health of the community. For me, retrieval of information received from the CHVs is instant which makes it easy to respond to any of their needs and emergency related cases in the households on time.
What I have discovered working with the project is the importance of feedback not only to the CHVs but also to me. Lack of feedback triggers anxiety, loss of resources in terms time and opportunities. Feedback encourages and motivates the CHVs and provides a learning opportunity not only for them but for me as well so that I can respond to their needs adequately. Through the technology, they can engage with each other to share their experiences hence increasing opportunities for learning.
At the household level, they have increased awareness on the importance of growth and development monitoring for the under fives. Through the application the parents have shown great concern because now they are aware of the things that they should be looking out for in their children. A combination of efforts among the player (parents, CHVs, Supervisors, and link health facility) supported by the mobile technology has improved surveillance in terms of early detection and defaulter tracing (immunizations and child welfare clinics attendance) and referral system.
In a nut shell, feedback and follow up have a great bearing towards quality of health outcomes. I consider these as the backbone of the referral application.