Amref Health Africa to train community health workers online

Amref Health Africa has unveiled an online mHealth solution seeking to revolutionise the way training of community-based health workers is conducted in Kenya.

Dubbed ‘Leap’, the move 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 more than 30 countries across the continent.

This is according to Amref Health Africa’s Group Chief Executive Officer Dr Githinji Gitahi.

“Leveraging technology such as use of mobile telephony is an efficient way to achieve scale in achieving this target in a short time. This platform is therefore very timely given the proliferation of mobile phone ownership in Kenya and the Africa continent at large,” said Dr. Githinji.

“With increased ownership of mobile technology amongst our Community Health Workers, the organisation has now embraced the use of this technology in training health workers in urban, rural and nomadic geographies,” he added.

The programme once successful would give health workers the means to continue 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.

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 workers attrition and [improve] 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,” explained Dr Ndirangu.

He said through such online platforms, each and every County across the country would poses expertise in the field of medicine, where every community health worker will be notified on the training and supervision.

“Our ambition is to enrol every community health workers 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,” said Dr Ndirangu.

The platform has previously been used in training health workers on Ebola following a recent outbreak in West Africa. It has also been employed in mobilisation for immunisation and nutritional campaigns as prioritised by the Ministry of Health.

In Kenya, community health workers receive basic initial training on health service delivery, which almost always marks the end to any kind of health training throughout the life of the worker.

To date, over 3,000 community health volunteers have been trained through mobile learning, reaching over 300,000 community members with much-needed health education and basic health services.

Amref Health Africa has so far trained over 40,000 Community Health Volunteers through different approaches.



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