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The COVID-19 pandemic has been a defining moment for global health, exposing weaknesses in healthcare systems and exacerbating existing disparities. 

In a nearly post-pandemic world, we can finally reflect on one critical lesson: how digital solutions offered resilient and equitable healthcare systems for people of all conditions globally.

The pandemic highlighted the need for early detection and reporting systems to respond effectively to emerging threats. It also demonstrated the importance of flexibility and communicating, learning and adapting in healthcare delivery, specifically digital health, as healthcare systems shifted to accommodate surges in demand.

Combatting rapid misinformation 

Effective, trustworthy communication campaigns were vital in managing misinformation and promoting trust in public health measures from prevention to vaccination.

In Madagascar, the Rooted in Trust project aimed to end the flow of misleading, inaccurate or malignant information for vulnerable populations. 

As part of the consortium of implementing partners, Viamo: 

  • contributed to broadcasting rumors bulletins on the Viamo Platform, 
  • collected feedback from the callers about emerging rumors and misinformation, 
  • and launched informative IVR (interactive voice response calls) and SMS (text) campaigns.

At the start of the pandemic, Viamo teamed up with UNICEF in Nepal to build community health workers’ capacity on the front lines. With movement restrictions in place, delivering in-person training sessions to thousands of community health workers and volunteers was logistically impossible. But Viamo’s Digital Training service provided modules on COVID-19 symptoms, prevention and safety measures. 

This showed a 97 percent knowledge increase from before the training, which covered routine COVID-19 screenings. 

An interactive survey at the end of each module revealed that 80 percent of health workers found the training easy to understand. 

Through simple mobile phones, Viamo helped partners build knowledge and capacity among populations and healthcare workers in remote or low-resource settings, in spite of changing challenges.

Digital transcends healthcare equity gaps

The pandemic exposed disparities in healthcare resources and services across the globe. But it also exposed that strong digital health infrastructure equalizes healthcare access, especially for those in physically hard-to-reach areas.

In Malawi, the Malawi Ministry of Health Malawi and VillageReach partnered with Viamo to improve healthcare access and outcomes by launching the Chipatala cha pa Foni (CCPF) call center service. By dialing a toll-free number, anyone with even a basic mobile phone  was able to receive the medical help they needed, regardless how far they lived from a health facility.

Since its launch, CCPF has become a vital part of Malawi’s healthcare system. The government has taken over operations for sustainability. On average, more than 110,000 people have continued to access the service each month.

Powerful data

Global partnerships for resource distribution and open data initiatives allowed for real-time information exchange, enabling countries to learn from one another and respond more effectively to the pandemic.

Viamo teamed up with researchers from the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine to collect data from our Platform callers about their knowledge of the virus and impact of it on their livelihoods.

As a result, we’ve published six reports spanning COVID-19 data on: 

Cumulatively, these reports show an emerging global pandemics’ impact on low-resource communities.

Digital re-shaping of healthcare

Viamo’s digital solutions directly contribute to data-driven decision-making and public health education.

Our collaboration and co-creation with partners drives innovation and improves healthcare outcomes in lower- and middle-income countries.

The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us valuable lessons about the importance of preparedness, communication, equity, and collaboration in healthcare. 

Viamo is committed to continuing our digital innovation and collaborative work to ensure that everyone, everywhere, has access to the healthcare they need.