Donate Now

Mobile phones - improving community health in the Kibera slum

 

This is Dorine. Dorine is a Community Health Volunteer trained by Amref Health Africa. She lives in Kibira, Nairobi – the largest urban slum in Africa. 

Kibera is made up of 250,000 people in 200 settlements. Conditions are tough and unemployment is high. It is Dorine's job to visit her neighbours in Kibira, offering support and advice to expectant mothers and women with children to ensure they are healthy.

Dorine is responsible for over 100 households in the slum, advising on antenatal care visits, ensuring mother and baby records are kept up to date, offering assistance with breastfeeding, immunisations, nutrition and family planning. 
 
Dorine is a member of a Community Unit called Soweto, which is made up of 120 Community Healthcare Volunteers who together, look after the people of Kibera. To perform her work effectively, Dorine has been trained on LEAP - a sophisticated mobile learning platform which empowers health workers through learning opportunities and enablement tools. Dorine's smartphone is now a key factor to her work as a Community Healthcare Volunteer.
 
“LEAP has really increased my confidence” she says. “When I visit a household to advise a neighbour, I know that I have all the health content right there with me in case I need to check anything. I know I am giving the correct information at all times”.
 
Most Community Health Volunteers live a hand to mouth existence in Kibera. The mobile technology gives people like Dorine flexibility. They can now fit studying into their routines around work and SMS alerts means that visits run much more smoothly. Being able to access material through the mobile platform at home is also much safer than walking the streets after dark, where crime and the risk of attacks are high. 
 
LEAP has also encouraged a strong sense of group identify and responsibility. Many of the volunteers are more engaged in their work because they feel invested in. Features such as a ‘group chat’ are popular for arranging visits, Community Action Days and circulating test results. A ‘buddy system’ has evolved between older and younger CHVs to ensure that the less tech-savvy Cummunity Health Volunteers aren’t left behind.  
 
Through the hard work of volunteers like Dorine, the project will reach over 17,000 women and 24,000 children under five in Kibera and neighbouring districts. 

For more information about LEAP the mHealth platform, visit www.leaphealthmobile.com.