Amref Health Africa’s eHealth Programme
The eHealth programme grew out of the eLearning support unit, which started with a pilot project for upgrading nurses in Kenya in 2005. With the expansion of the programme’s scope from local to regional and from eLearning to mLearning and mHealth (including health information systems and eCare), the eLearning programme became the eHealth programme. Today, the mandate of the programme is to provide support to projects, programmes, organisations and countries that wish to develop and implement eHealth programmes within and outside Amref Health Africa, and to document lessons learned and good practice in the use of technology for capacity building. To date, the eHealth programme is supporting 15 projects in eight (8) countries across Africa namely Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Lesotho, Ethiopia, and Senegal.
The Health Enablement and Learning Platform (HELP) project which aims at testing the efficacy of mobile learning and productivity enhancement solutions on the most basic handsets and smart phone technology. It is intended to build the skills and capabilities of health workers as well as develop a sustainable platform that can increase efficiencies in health care delivery for CHVs, midwives, nurses, etc.
The JIBU mLearning project- funded by the Dutch Postcode Lottery whose aim is to test the use of mobile technology by nurses and midwives to increase access to health information and ultimately improve service delivery. The project is an add-on to the eLearning upgrading programmes in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.
Other ehealth projects include:
- The Amref Health Africa-Southern Africa programme implementing an eLearning programme in Malawi. The objective of the programme is to upgrade 150 nurse-midwife technicians from ‘enrolled’ to ‘registered’ status within 2 years.
- The Tanzania eLearning nurse upgrading programme which commenced in October 2013. In November 2013, six (6) nursing schools enrolled 88 students into the programme.
- The eLearning midwives’ upgrading programme in Uganda which was launched in February 2010 by the Minister of health. The programme is a partnership between Amref Health Africa, the Ministry of health (MoH), the Ministry of education and sports (MoES), the Uganda nurses and midwives council (UNMC), training institutions and funding partners. The overall aim of the programme is to train midwives to a diploma (registered) level to help improve the health of the rural based and disadvantaged populations in Uganda.
- The Zambia nurse and life skills training programme (ZNLTP) which is funded by MasterCard Foundation and is a partnership between ChildFund and Amref Health Africa as the implementing agencies. The objective of the programme is to train high school leavers (youth) entering the nursing and midwifery profession, with a target of 6,000 in 5 years.
- Amref Health Africa/Phillips partnership which has a shared vision of “striving to be recognised as enablers of health systems strengthening in Africa”. The partnership has three interlinked focus areas: stakeholder’s engagement, clinical education and training, and large scale projects (LSPs). As a joint and equal partner venture, the partnership aims to generate revenue through innovative, scalable and replicable solutions while at the same time creating lasting impact in communities and health systems.
- The overarching aim of the mCHW project is to design, develop, implement and evaluate a mobile learning intervention to support the professional education of community health workers (CHWs) working with the poorest and most vulnerable communities in underserved areas of Kenya. The project has been able to design, develop and test a referral mobile application targeting under-five growth and development.
- Integrated maternal and newborn health (MNH) project in Kenya funded by the mPesa Foundation funded which aims to reinforce the capacity of health centres in Samburu central to offer MNH services. The project supports health centres to develop infrastructure, equip and train health workers on SafeCare quality standards. Infrastructure upgrading includes building of maternal waiting homes near the facility. The project is a partnership between mPesa Foundation, Safaricom, PharmAccess and Amref Health Africa.
- The Staying Alive project which is a maternal health initiative which focuses on four(4) maternal health components: emergency obstetric care (EmoC), family planning, post-abortion and fistula care. The goal of the project is to contribute to the reduction of maternal mortality and morbidity in the target districts related to poor obstetric care at birth, lack of safe post-abortion care and un-repaired obstetric fistula. The eHealth programme is providing support to the implementing countries (Kenya, Uganda and Malawi) to leverage e&mHealth approaches to achieve the goals of the project.
- Distance Education programme aimed at providing continuing education to health workers in eastern Africa in 1980s. To date Amref Health Africa continues to offer print based DE courses, which are open to health workers across Africa who have completed their basic training.