Amref Health Africa unveils revolutionary mobile solution for training community health workers

A community health worker in Kenya uses a mobile phone while doing a home visit

 

June 8, 2016; NAIROBI, KENYA:  Amref Health Africa has today unveiled an mHealth solution, LEAP, that seeks to revolutionize the way training of community-based health workers is conducted in Kenya and beyond. 

Through the LEAP platform - formerly known as the Health Enablement Learning Platform, or HELP, - a health worker is able to access continued training through their mobile device, peer learning through engagement with peers, strengthened supervision through direct access to supervisors, and access to updates and campaign messages as required.

Over the last four years, Amref Health Africa has developed the solution in partnership with the Kenya Ministry of Health, M-Pesa Foundation, Accenture, and Safaricom. To date, over 3,000 community health workers have been trained through mobile learning reaching over 300,000 community members with much needed health education and basic health services. LEAP is very responsive to the need on the ground and has previously been used in training health workers on Ebola following the recent threat in West Africa. LEAP has also been employed in mobilization for immunization and nutritional campaigns as prioritized by Kenya’s Ministry of Health. 

Amref Health Africa’s Group Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Githinji Gitahi, said Amref Health Africa is focused on increasing the number of well-qualified health workers in Africa by providing training, medical outreach services and technical assistance to local authorities and Ministries of Health in over 30 countries in Africa.

 “Amref Health Africa has trained over 40,000 community health workers through different approaches. Leveraging technology, such as the use of mobile telephones, is an efficient way to achieve scale in a short time. The LEAP platform is very timely given the proliferation of mobile phone ownership in Kenya and the Africa continent at large. With increased ownership of mobile technology amongst our community health workers, the organization has now embraced the use of this technology in training health workers in urban, rural and nomadic geographies,” said Dr. Gitahi.

Amref Health Africa’s Director of Capacity Building, Dr. Peter Ngatia, said the mobile solution will be offered to stakeholders as part of the organization’s effort to scale up impact and transform it into a sustainable business.

“Through this mobile platform we can improve learning, collaboration and knowledge retention, reduce community health worker attrition, and provide rapid response to outbreaks at a cost less or equal to traditional face-to-face training in the 13 counties where the solution is being implemented,” said Dr Ngatia. “Our ambition is to enroll every community health worker in Kenya onto the mobile learning platform, so they can all have continued access to training and supervision with the Ministry of Health and NGOs offering targeted training and support more effectively to this critical health workforce.”

The LEAP mobile solution is now available to other stakeholders involved in training health workers to improve the outcomes of their development programmes. Amref Health Africa has transitioned this solution into a social enterprise and is working towards replicating its use in other countries in Africa. 

Amref Health Africa’s additional mHealth solutions include: supply chain management solutions to manage health facility supplies; awareness and demand creation through use of SMS based solutions; disease surveillance tools; basic and smart training of health worker tools and data management mobile solutions. 

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ABOUT AMREF HEALTH AFRICA: Amref Health Africa is an international African organization founded and headquartered in Kenya. Amref Health Africa works with the most vulnerable African communities through its country programs in Ethiopia, Kenya, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda, and its Southern Africa and West Africa regional hubs based in South Africa and Senegal respectively. With over half a century of experience in delivering health care and building health systems in Africa, Amref Health Africa supports those at the heart of the communities, particularly women and children, to bring about lasting health change. 

For more information, or to arrange interviews, please contact:

Jennifer Foulds, Amref Health Africa in Canada, (416) 961-6981; (647) 771-5815 (cell)