inSupply Health, Health-E-Net, and representatives from the Ministry of Health in Turkana county visited Loima sub county for the launch of cStock-Paper Electronic Medical Records (EMR) technology using smart feature phones. The goal of this initiative is to achieve health equity and improve commodity security and access by increasing data visibility and use through digital reporting.
Community health workers from nomadic communities are disadvantaged from participating in digital or emerging health solutions for many reasons: low literacy, low connectivity, low smartphone ownership and the vast distances they travel. This means they face challenges in reporting, low data visibility and poor access to commodities, reducing overall health outcomes. Most digital health solutions are aimed at mainstream beneficiaries of health systems and often perpetuate inequitable access by nomadic communities.
inSupply and Health-E-Net are partnering to combine the benefits of 2 mobile phone solutions (cStock and PaperEMR) to address these challenges in the Hybrid Paper to Digital/ cStock-PaperEMR initiative. cStock is a mobile reporting and resupply system co-designed with nomadic, hard-to reach Community Health Volunteers (CHVs) and their supervisors (Community Health Assistants – CHAs) for submitting data via application or USSD to inform health commodity supply decisions. PaperEMR is a novel, paper-first approach to capturing and using digital health data. It combines simple, paper-based information entry, with digital data capture by taking an image of the document on any mobile device.
Combining the two technologies helps CHVs fill out a simple paper form that is designed to accommodate all literacy levels, take pictures of the form on the smart feature phone and submit it through a click of the button. Simple, accurate reporting on cStock-PaperEMR by CHVs enables data-driven, timely decision making by CHAs and commodity managers at all levels of the supply chain which drives timely availability of lifesaving health commodities to the CHVs. To launch and test this exciting new initiative, 200 CHVs from 17 community units in Loima sub county received smart feature phones to collect and share their stock data on cStock-PaperEMR with their resupply facilities. Laura Nabwire, inSupply Health’s Practice Lead in Kenya, stated that the organization has been working with the Ministry of Health in Turkana and four other counties (Samburu, Wajir, Mandera and Siaya) in Kenya with an aim of amplifying the intrinsic power CHVs already hold as people who bring lifesaving health commodities to their communities. She added that the cStock-PaperEMR technology which the CHVs will be trained on was developed using a human-centered design approach to enable prompt communication with everyone in the supply chain, from community level to sub county, county and national level as part of workforce capacity strengthening effort for a robust health information system. Laura expressed optimism that the roll out will provide an opportunity for learning valuable lessons that can be replicated in other counties where services of CHVs are used to drive health access.
inSupply Health is a Health Advisory firm in East Africa that works with both public and private sectors to foster people-centered, data-driven, responsive, resilient supply chains that also address issues of equity, efficiency, performance, quality and accountability. We particularly focus on applying both process and technology innovations to solving these issues while ensuring that solutions are contextualized, scalable and sustainable.
Health-E-Net Ltd is a Kenyan digital health social enterprise developing appropriate and cutting-edge mobile technologies to support healthcare delivery in low-resource settings.