What has been the impact of your solution to date?
Our proposal has broad support from the Ministry of Health in Kenya, and other key stakeholders as the initial phase of the project has focused on stakeholder engagement and concept testing.
Thus far we have rolled out a maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH) project in Tanzania including health promotion SMS for new mothers eg.vaccination reminders, and basic reporting by Community Healthcare Workers of key indicators eg. infant mortality via SMS. A similar MNCH program will shortly start in Ethiopia Q1 2013.
Additionally a pilot seeking to engage peer educators on sexual and reproductive health issues and increase awareness has commenced in Kenya, with a disease surveillance project scheduled to start in Q1 2013.
The pilots have data coming in via SMS, processed by a cloud-based system into reports. The end user-interface that allows self service is not yet complete, but the ability to access reports on demand is seen as a key benefit for supervisors and project teams.
What is your projected impact over the next 1 to 3 years?
Year 1 will prove that a general SMS system with cloud-based reporting can be employed to address varied data needs (reporting, health promotion) in diverse contexts (urban, rural, nomadic) and countries. Each pilot project has clear success criteria against which to measure the impact of SMS. We expect quantitative data to highlight the benefits / issues with SMS and improvement in health indicators such as vaccination uptake in MNCH. We are targeting a 5% improvement as a base case.
In years 2-3 collaborative partners would be involved in wider implementation of the technology to meet all the data needs of multiple projects. Building on learns whilst expanding the scope, will be key in order to deliver the targeted improvements to health indicators.
What barriers might hinder the success of your project? How do you plan to overcome them?
• Ministries of Health must be a key stakeholder in driving collaboration between NGOs. Without this competition is likely to continue. Identifying and persuading key decision-makers, and building advocates has proved effective in Kenya.
• Common health indicators need to be agreed across national borders and NGOs to reduce system complexity. This will rest on senior stakeholders and organisations eg. WHO to influence collaboration and willingness to compromise.
• A clear business model to outline the likely costs, responsibilities, investment required and incremental benefits for all stakeholders to commit. Building this model will be challenging and expert help should be sought
• Project management requires strong accountability despite geographical distances and varied cultures