The early results of a project to increase women’s health education in Mozambique showed that knowledge retention increased by up to 30% among participants, which included community health workers.
The project – Alcançar: Achieving Quality Health Services for Women and Children – aims to establish the rural Nampula province as a model health system for high-quality, patient-centered, evidence-based health services for mothers, newborns and children.
The project is leading the use of digital technology to identify, test and scale health system improvements for health facilities and districts to achieve consistent, sustainable delivery of human-centered clinical care. It is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development through a consortium of eight partners, including Viamo and FHI 360.
Infant and maternal mortality rates remain high in Mozambique, despite improvements in maternal, newborn and child health services. In the preliminary stages of the project, Alcançar assessed health care providers’ knowledge of routine steps of care and signs and symptoms of complications.
Picture credit: FHI360
The results showed knowledge gaps among health workers and indicated areas for improvement. Consequently, providers needed to be trained and professionally developed in order to support their consistent delivery of highly effective interventions. The challenges facing frontline health workers in developing their knowledge and confidence are numerous: many work alone, live in remote areas, and have restricted access to training and mentorship. Their knowledge of ever-changing clinical guidelines is limited as a result.
The Alcançar Digital Training program builds the competencies of front-line healthcare providers at the provincial, district and facility levels. With the help of Viamo, Alcançar developed and deployed a mobile phone-based Digital Training program to support the capacity and knowledge of health workers.
”I didn't know how to identify some diseases. [The Digital Training] gave me knowledge to identify maternal and child health-related issues. Before, I used to resort to traditional treatments only. Now, I advise the community members to go to the health units.
Novas EduardoCommunity Health Worker in Nacala Porto District
Through Digital Training, health professionals are supported in their continued professional development in a variety of topics. These include strategies for overcoming negative gender and youth norms, and providing respectful care to all patients. Lessons are pretested, refined, and delivered in local languages via interactive voice response (IVR) technology. Prescheduled lessons are sent to Community Health Workers (CHWs) and nurses directly on their mobile devices free of charge. This approach is designed to complement existing training methods and structures and improve their efficiency.
Digital Training knowledge retention among community health workers, Nov. 2020–Sept. 2021
The project which will run for five years (April 2019‒ March 2024) is helping the Mozambican health system deploy evidence-based quality improvement approaches and accurate data to identify problems and implement digital solutions that improve health.