There are only 2 doctors and 9 nurses available for every 10,000 people in Africa. This means that there are too few health workers to reach the millions in urgent need of care. This is why Amref Health Africa has made training health workers at all levels – from community volunteers to midwives, nurses and doctors - the cornerstone of our work. We particularly focus on community health workers because they are often the only link to health care for millions of people in rural areas and are capable of providing simple, but life-saving interventions. By leveraging innovative technologies such as eLearning and mobile learning, we are able to train health workers rapidly and cost-effectively.
Leap: the mHealth Platform
Leap is Amref Health Africa’s mobile platform created to train community health workers (CHWs) faster and more efficiently, whether they live in a poor urban neighborhood, or in a distant rural community. Leap runs on basic mobile phone technology, so health workers can learn at their own pace, wherever they are, using their own mobile phones. Leap began in 2013 as HELP, or the Health Enablement and Learning Platform, which successfully trained over 3,000 CHWs in Kenya. Leap is a partnership between Amref Health Africa and Accenture, Safaricom, Mezzanine, the m-Pesa Foundation and the Government of Kenya.
A health worker takes down her patient's health information on her phone.
Leap delivers training through a combination of audio text messages and is built around an approved curriculum. Leap also serves CHWs as a collaboration tool, allowing CHWs within the same region to chat and message one another while assessing patients or studying. CHWs can also use Leap as a monitoring tool where they can store their patients’ health information. To date, rural communities where CHWs use Leap have reported dramatic improvements in the health of the community: 100% of women deliver with a trained health worker, a 20% increase in people using immunization services, and an increase of 17% of children benefiting from having their growth and other health stats carefully measured using Leap.
Refresher Course in Essential Laboratory Services (RCELS)
Without an accurate diagnosis of medical conditions like HIV, how can someone seek proper treatment? In rural sub-Saharan Africa, this remains a major challenge in ending preventable deaths from infectious diseases and outbreaks. Most laboratories where blood samples are sent for diagnosis are underfunded, lack basic equipment and are short on fully skilled staff and management.
The RCELS is held in Nairobi, Kenya each year and was created to strengthen laboratory diagnostics by upgrading the skills of lab technologists in essential lab tests such as malaria microscopy and TB and HIV screening. The 12-week course targets lab technicians from remote and under serviced regions that don’t normally have access to affordable lab training.
"Being a midwife is all I’ve ever wanted to do...I want to give mothers and their babies a better chance."
Mary Leonard Raphael, Midwife