Community health workers in Western Kenya have been very busy helping pregnant women and children improve their access to health information and healthcare since our last post on this initiative of Moi University in Eldoret, Kenya, and the University of Toronto.
Through this initiative, the work of community health workers has been supported by smartphones equipped with open source software: electronic health records, accessible health information and clinical decision support tools. So far, ninety community health workers have been trained to use these smartphones and dispatched into communities with them.
The smartphones contain electronic health records that allow for patient tracking and recording of health information. The smartphones have been equipped with specially designed clinical decision support tools that help community health workers provide tailored health information to the women and children they visit. For example, using tools on the smartphone, a community health worker is able to determine when a pregnant women is due and prompted to provide appropriate prenatal health information for her stage of pregnancy. The smartphones have also been loaded with video clips that provide maternal and child health information in local languages.
In the next few months, the pilot phase of this project will be wrapping up and the initiative will undergo an evaluation. Next phase: scaling up and/or replication?