As Spirits Rise in Sierra Leone, Technology Offers More than Ebola Recovery

By Amanda Puckett BenDor, IntraHealth International

IntraHealthOn Saturday, November 7, the World Health Organization declared Sierra Leone Ebola-free. Hundreds flooded the streets of Freetown to celebrate and pay tribute to those whose lives were lost during the outbreak. I read about the celebrations online with joy and happiness—they’d finally made it. I could almost hear the drums playing from North Carolina.

Over the past year during my travels to Freetown, I’ve observed the struggles and hardships Ebola has caused for Sierra Leoneans. Minor inconveniences such as curfews and routine traffic stops are coupled with grief over lost family members and constant fear of infection.

It has been a long, hard fight.

There is the business of recovery, but there is also the human side.

Many of my friends and colleagues in international development have worked endless hours over the past two years to help control the outbreak. During my last trip in September, everyone was noticeably tired and ready to move forward, to find normalcy again.

Recovery Is More than a Buzzword

In July, Sierra Leone’s president launched a two-year National Ebola Recovery Strategy to help the country get back on track and realize the social and economic gains that were all but erased by Ebola. The country was just finding its footing as it recovered from more than a decade of civil war when Ebola significantly set it back.

The first nine months of the plan focus on restoring basic access to health care, getting kids back to school, social protection, and restoring growth through the private sector and agriculture. So much of the work I’ve observed of the government and implementing partners right now is focused on these crucial nine months.

Recovery is more than a buzzword for Sierra Leone and the other Ebola-affected countries. It’s a new way of life.

During my travels to Sierra Leone, I’ve talked to a lot of people about what recovery looks like. There is the business of recovery—reviving the economy and restoring investments in the country. But there is also the human side. What kind of stigma are Ebola survivors facing? How are families coping with the loss of their loved ones? What kinds of chronic health conditions may survivors face and where can they seek treatment? What kind of posttraumatic stress will children have, especially those orphaned by the disease? And what kind of support is there for the health workers who have been battling Ebola on the front lines, where many also contracted the virus?

mHero connects health workers to health officials, to each other, and to critical information.

We don’t have clear or easy answers to these questions. But there are solutions and a bevy of committed stakeholders eager to help Sierra Leone recover.

Stronger Health Systems and Communication through mHero

For well over a year, I have been working with global stakeholders to develop and implement such a solution—a mobile phone-based system called mHero. Through the Ebola Grand Challenge, IntraHealth International is already putting mHero into action in Liberia and Guinea, where it’s connecting health workers to health officials, to each other, and to critical information that can save lives.

Now USAID is investing to introduce the platform in Sierra Leone, too.

In addition to introducing mHero there with our partner UNICEF, we are working alongside multiple levels of the Ministry of Health and Sanitation and other global partners to scale iHRIS (IntraHealth’s open source software for managing health workforce information), to build informatics capacity at the ministry, and to improve health information system interoperability. These investments align with the president’s recovery strategy to improve data collection and sharing.

Leaders in Sierra Leone are ready for mHero—and ready to take the next steps in health systems strengthening. They know that the value of health information systems during the outbreak was limited by the timeliness, completeness, and quality of their data. So now leaders seek to engineer something more robust and responsive for the future.

Through my discussions with them about iHRIS and mHero, their visions for improved information are clear. As we scale mHero, I’m optimistic they will harness this technology and find innovative ways to use it to better support frontline health workers.

The Survivors

As Sierra Leone enters this new “Ebola-free” phase, I’ve been thinking about the survivors—up to 4,000 of them in Sierra Leone alone.

During my last trip to Freetown, I learned of a woman—an Ebola survivor who lost her husband but still had a young family to care for—who needed treatment for high blood pressure. She was given money by the government to travel the two hours to Freetown to see a specialist, but after several trips to seek care, she was denied services, most likely because of the stigma she faces as a survivor. She eventually did get the treatment she needed. But for her and all of Sierra Leone, this road to recovery is filled with unexpected roadblocks.

I am very hopeful that over the next few months, our support to the ministry through iHRIS, mHero, and informatics capacity-building will lay a solid foundation for the country to construct and own a state-of-the-art health information system. It will be a celebration in the streets once again.

IntraHealth’s work in Sierra Leone is funded by USAID.

This article was cross posted from IntraHealth’s website:

Congressional Briefing Hears Hard Lessons Learned on Frontline Health Workforce Strengthening

By Maeve Halpin, IntraHealth International and Frontline Health Workers Coalition

It’s been more than 18 months since the Ebola epidemic began its devastation through Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia, causing thousands of deaths and testing health systems to the breaking point.

Since the beginning of the epidemic there have been more than 28,000 cases of Ebola in West Africa, more than 11,000 of those resulting in death. Among those who perished are more than 500 health workers who worked, tirelessly at the frontline, giving their life on the line to stop the outbreak and help the victims.

Dr. Ama Adadevoh

Dr. Ama Adadevoh

These shocking statistics are all the more gut-wrenching when you hear the heroic stories of frontline health workers like Dr. Ameyo Stella Adadevoh, who correctly diagnosed and contained the first case of Ebola in Nigeria in 2014. Ameyo’s sister, Dr. Ama Adadevoh, told Ameyo’s story to congressional and executive agency staff at a Congressional briefing on October 29th here in Washington.

Ama’s telling of Ameyo’s story – correctly diagnosing the case, preventing further spread of Ebola in Lagos, a city of about 16 million, and utilizing improvised personal protective equipment – made jaws drop in the audience. Ama’s  reason for coming to Washington is the same reason why her family started the a Health Trust in her sister’s name. And it is the same reason the Frontline Health Workers Coalition and International Medical Corps, IntraHealth International, ONE Campaign, CARE, Management Sciences for Health co-sponsored the briefing in cooperation with US Reps. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) & Ander Crenshaw (R-Fla.): frontline health workers, especially those in the most remote and rural settings in developing countries, must be better supported to save lives and help stop future health threats.

Dr. Ariel Pablos-Méndez

Dr. Ariel Pablos-Méndez

USAID global health chief Dr. Ariel Pablos-Méndez reiterated this point to the briefing participants, telling them that a strong health workforce is absolutely critical to achieve the core US government global health goals of ending preventable maternal and child deaths, achieving an AIDS-free generation and ensuring global health security.Dr. R.J Simonds of the CDC Center for Global Health continued with this theme, discussing the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief’s recognition of the central nature of health workforce strengthening to achieving PEPFAR’s targets in fighting HIV/AIDS, adding that a resilient workforce is central to the planning by the US and several partners to ensure prevention, detection and rapid response to future threats like Ebola under the Global Health Security Agenda.

“Nothing is possible without the health workers that make health systems tick!”

Dr. Ariel Pablos-Méndez, USAID

Dr. Jen Kates of the Kaiser Family Foundation, reminded the audience that there’s a long road to go – more than 400 million people lack access to one of more essential health services provided by frontline health workers, according to the World Health Oganization and World Bank. But Kates added that there are several great case examples of major successes in global health outcomes being driven by a sustained focus on bolstering the frontline health workforce.


The momentum’s building for such a focus on frontline health workers. Reps. Lowey and Crenshaw recently sponsored a resolution – H Res 419 – with a growing number of co-sponsors, that would recognize frontline health workers’ amazing impact, often at risk to their own safety. It also would urge strong U.S. leadership and a coordinated U.S. government-wide action plan for its investments to help those same frontline health workers.

Globally, under the SDGs approved in September by the United Nations General Assembly, goal 3(C) states a target for the world to:

Substantially increase health financing and the recruitment, development, training and retention of the health workforce in developing countries, especially in least developed countries and small island developing States.

And, as Dr. Pablos-Méndez reminded the audience at last week’s briefing, very important on the road ahead will be the adoption of the Workforce 2030 Global Strategy by the world’s health ministers at next May’s World Health Assembly.

Aaron Sonah, a Liberian nurse in rural Liberia who worked on the frontlines of the fight against Ebola told attendees of the briefing, we cannot let up in this effort, and we must work together. “Treatment alone cannot stop Ebola,” Sonah said, “We need governments, NGOs, everyone to join the fight.”

Health Workers put Family Planning Clients First

By Cole Bingham, Jhpiego & Liz Eddy, Maternal and Child Survival Program

In recent years the global health community has galvanized around a call to fulfill the
unmet contraceptive needs of 225 million women, most of whom live in developing countries.

Frontline health workers are absolutely critical to meeting these needs. They offer the first and often the only opportunity for adolescents, women and couples to learn about and receive high-quality family planning services.

The potential impact of universal access to family planning is staggering. The counselors, nurses, midwives and doctors who offer family planning services could avert more than 30% of maternal deaths and as much as 13% of child mortality.

Frontline health workers hold three key ingredients of family planning success:

  1. They’re in the community: To achieve our global health goals, we must reach women and families where they live, even in the hardest-to-reach places on the planet, with family planning services. Frontline health workers represent one of the best entry points into the community.
  2. They’re leaders: Expanding family planning coverage requires leadership, passion and innovation. Frontline health workers are well positioned in their communities and facilities to improve and expand family planning services. They can get men involved, improve service schedules, develop job aids for their coworkers, generate excitement in their facilities, and much, much more.
  3. They can reach young people: Unmet family planning need among adolescents is particularly high; young girls face major health, societal and economic risks if they become pregnant. Frontline health workers who provide youth-friendly services are key to reaching this population.

Nurse Marian, a model family planning champion developed by the United States Agency for International Development’s flagship Maternal and Child Survival Program, is a great example of a model frontline health worker. She counsels a range of clients in the community on family planning options, and makes sure she puts their needs first.

Here is what we mean when we say that #HealthWorkersCount 4 #FamilyPlanning:

FP Infographic FINAL 9.23.2015-page-001


Collecting Community Health Worker Data in Ghana

By Sule Kuein, GSK PULSE Volunteer with the One Million Community Health Workers (1mCHW) Campaign, Ghana

Community health workers (CHWs) on the frontlines of care are, without a doubt, one of the most essential building blocks in improving access to essential health services in developing countries and attaining universal health coverage. In Ghana, there are many types of “community-based health workers”, including, but not limited to community health volunteers, community-based surveillance volunteers, community health officers, health extension workers, and field educators. The 1mCHW Campaign is supporting the Government of Ghana to develop an integrated, formalized cadre of CHWs by upgrading the skills of qualified volunteer workers through a national CHW training curriculum.

A snapshot of Ghana’s community health workforce on the Operations Room’s Data Exploration Tool. All data collected via the AddYourCount form! Courtesy One Million Community Health Workers Campaign.

A snapshot of Ghana’s community health workforce on the Operations Room’s Data Exploration Tool. All data collected via the AddYourCount form! Courtesy One Million Community Health Workers Campaign.

Collecting CHW data is essential to identifying gaps in access to health services. Without access to up-to-date or even real-time data, the precious and selfless work of implementation organizations are performed in isolation where collaboration has the potential to accelerate CHW program scale-up. Increased knowledge about CHWs provides evidence to inform effective collaborative relationships between governments, organizations and relevant agencies

Since I started as a GSK PULSE Volunteer with 1mCHW in Ghana, our data collection efforts have focused on collecting data from two main sources

  1. Data from the Ghana Health Service. The Ghana Health Service has a large cadre of community health officers and community health volunteers in all regions across the country. These frontline health workers go door-to-door, mainly in rural communities, to provide preventative and curative health services as part of Ghana’s Community-based Health Planning and Service Program. Data about these health workers are being collected via offline forms completed at every region, district and community.
  2. Data from implementation partners and organizations. In Ghana there are many non-governmental organizations that work with their own cadres of health workers, such as HealthKeepers Network, FHI360 and Willows International. Each of these organizations has their own process for collecting and managing data on the CHWs they support. In support of our #AddYourCount campaign, they have graciously submitted an up-to-date summary of their CHW data to the 1mCHW Operations Room

Data on CHWs are entered into the 1mCHW Operations Room via our online #AddYourCount form on the Campaign’s website. This simple form gathers information on CHW locations, population served, education level, average age, female-to-male ratio, remuneration type, training received and services provided, as well as, medical supplies and other equipment provided to CHWs. The form also collects information about the use of mobile technologies, title of CHW supervisors and their meeting frequency with CHWs.

All data is reflected in the Operations Room soon after collection and updated regularly. This valuable information tracking system is not only viable in Ghana, but in all sub-Saharan African countries. Currently, on the Operations Room website, there is information regarding over 140,000 CHWs.

With data flowing from both Ghana Health Service and non-governmental organizations, Ghana will soon have a comprehensive map of its community health workers. This will serve as the country’s go-to tool for identifying gaps in human resources for health and underserved areas, as well as enabling all partners to make data-driven decisions toward strengthening Ghana’s health system.



Community-based Case Management—A Life-saving Strategy for Rural Children

By Narcisse Naia Embeke, Management Sciences for Health

Credit: Warren Zelman.

Credit: Warren Zelman.

I grew up in a village in northwestern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and although I’m now a doctor and live in Kinshasa, I remember those days well.

I know what it’s like to live 23 kilometers from the nearest health center and to navigate forests and floods to get there. I know how a lack of something simple like antibiotics can cause a quick death. I’ve lost many peers from the village over the years and a lot of family members.

In fact, that’s why I became a physician.

In 2001, my country was in turmoil and 213 children out of 1,000 died before their 5th birthday. But as peace spread, so did health services. Between 2010 and 2013 the decline in mortality was very steep, and by 2013 the rate was 104 per 1,000 in both urban and rural areas.

In 2010 the DRC’s Ministry of Health developed the National Health Development Plan 2011-15, and in 2013, set a target and framework to save the lives of 430,000 children under age 5 and 7,900 women by 2015. The framework involved six approaches: universal coverage (delivery kits, community-based care called integrated community case management); continuity of care including referral facilities, improved governance and management of health areas, strengthening of human resources, communication for development, and community involvement.

The Integrated Health Project (IHP), a 5-year cooperative agreement (2010-15) between the US government and the DRC government, became an instrumental part of meeting this goal. As a USAID-funded consortium led by Management Sciences for Health (MSH), with the International Rescue Committee and Overseas Strategic Consulting, IHP was responsible for 78 far-flung health zones in four provinces and supported the health of about 20% of the DRC population. Its one-year extension, IHPplus (2015-2016) is now working in 83 zones. I have had the privilege of working as a child health specialist for IHP and IHPplus.

Since many villages in the DRC are nearly inaccessible, to aim for universal coverage, IHP developed nearly 600 integrated community case management sites throughout 39 health zones.

We found that every community has people—usually women—who have compassion for the sick and will volunteer to be a community health worker. IHP trains, supervises, and monitors them, and provides basic equipment and supplies, like acute respiratory infection timers, child-weighing scales, and rapid malaria tests. The community health workers keep antibiotics, anti-malarial drugs, zinc, and oral rehydration salts. IHP also gives them bicycles so they can ride to the nearest health center to pick up medicines—and pedal the very ill to a health center.

The actual “site” is humble—a cabinet in the volunteer’s house. But now a mother can rush her feverish child to this volunteer’s house for a malaria test instead of waiting for days hoping she’ll get better and then setting out on a long, risky journey. We encourage doctors from health centers to come out to visit the sites—it gives them more credibility in the community.

The results using integrated community case management for malaria have been particularly impressive. In the second year of implementation, frontline health workers at these sites treated 924 episodes of malaria. Two years later, workers at these sites treated nearly 30,000 episodes. We expect about 50,000 episodes will be treated by the end of the fifth year.

The introduction of a pre-referral artesunate suppository for children with severe malaria has tremendous potential, too. Sometimes a parent has to carry a very sick child on her back for hours — and sometimes the child doesn’t survive.  But an artesunate suppository can work long enough for them to arrive at the hospital for treatment. We are still studying it, but where it has been introduced, it seems to work well.

The results on overall child health are also inspiring. Computer models tell us IHP has contributed to saving 108,000 lives of children under 5—about 25% of the health ministry’s countrywide target. The integrated, community-based approach accounts for many of those, and that gives me great joy.  It has also saved families untold worry, since people no longer have to choose between making a difficult journey or risking death from something treatable—the choice we had back in the village when I was young.

My country has come a long way providing for the health of her people since I was a child. I’m honored to be a part of it through MSH and IHP/IHPplus.

Narcisse Naia Embeke is a Child Health Senior Technical Advisor for the Integrated Health Project in Democratic Republic of the Congo, Management Sciences for Health (@MSHHealthImpact).

Watch “Kangaroo Mother Care”, “Helping Babies Breathe”, and “Beatrice’s Story” on YouTube to see IHP’s impact first-hand.



 International Medical Corps and The Frontline Health Workers Coalition Present

A Congressional Briefing on:



DFID- Pakistan

 Frontline health workers responding to the Ebola epidemic have rightly received high praise for their heroic efforts. Yet around the world, many countries lack the health workers, supplies and systems needed to ensure the health of their communities and countries—which, as we saw in West Africa, can have dramatic, global consequences. Please join International Medical Corps and the Frontline Health Workers Coalition – along with Representative Nita Lowey, Representative Ander Crenshaw, IntraHealth International, the ONE Campaign, CARE USA and Management Sciences for Health, for a congressional briefing to examine what’s required to ensure a robust frontline health workforce for the 21st Century.

 To RSVP please click here:



Dr. Ariel Pablos-Mendez, USAID Assistant Administrator for Global Health

Dr. R.J. Simonds, Principal Deputy Director, CDC Center for Global Health

Aaron Sonah, Nurse, International Medical Corps, Liberia



Dr. Jennifer Kates, Vice President and Director of Global Health & HIV Policy,

Kaiser Family Foundation


Closing Remarks

Dr. Ama Adadevoh, Deputy Chair,  Dr. Ameyo Stella Adadevoh Health Trust, Nigeria



Innovations in Information Systems Inform Decision Making at the Community Level in Ethiopia

Written by Amanda Makulec and Tariq Azim, JSI

To understand where, when, and what health services are provided within a health system, quality data must be available. In a country as large as Ethiopia—with 94 million people—developing and implementing systems for capturing quality data can be a daunting task, but when done well can improve how decisions are made, from national budgeting down to health facility outreach planning.

Health management information systems (HMIS) often focus on capturing, transmitting, and visualizing data from the district, regional, and national levels. While these systems are crucial to generating national statistics, they don’t always put the data in the hands of the people who could use it on the ground— frontline health workers.

JSI has been working on an HMIS Scale-up Project with the Ethiopia’s Ministry of Health to develop and implement an electronic health management information system in the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region . The work has been supported by USAID under the MEASURE Evaluation Project and the Advancing Partners &
Communities Project.
Developing this system has been a crucial part of the Ministry’s “One Plan, One Budget & One Report” policy. This policy aims to have one harmonized plan for the health sector with one budget where all of the program and donor-supported plans are incorporated using a single reporting system of which the paper-based health management information system is the core providing data on routine monitoring.

APC Ethiopia blog graphic 9.24.15

To date, the HMIS Scale-up Project has assisted the health bureau in the region to scale up the national system in all 4,459 facilities by implementing a reformed system with a user-centered design. The regional health bureau and all of the district offices and many facilities are now using a computerized application that helps staff enter, aggregate, store, analyze, and evaluate health-related data quickly and accurately.

Over 3,700 of the community health posts in the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region and 4,430 out of the 6,005 rural agrarian community health posts in the Oromia Region are implementing the government’s Community Health Information System (CHIS), which includes the family folder system and the tickler file system. The family folder system helps health facilities gather and use information in a paper-based system that is kept for every family in the area so that health workers can follow up. The tickler file system includes health cards for clients who need follow-up care. These cards are organized by month according to when their next appointment is needed. Together, these tools improve data access on family health and service coverage for frontline health workers, and support data-driven, community-based decision making.

For example, for time-sensitive, routine services like immunization, frontline health workers can see where there are gaps in coverage at their health post and use an accompanying tickler file for each family to identify who is behind on their vaccination schedule.

The system is improving data quality and information use at the local health posts, and has contributed to better supervision, staff motivation, and targeting of family-oriented services.  Its success in such a large area of the country provides a valuable demonstration to other countries considering how to implement electronic health management information systems.

You can learn more about the Ethiopia HMIS Scale-up Project and its work at the community level on JSI’s The Pump and on JSI’s Slideshare.

Planning a Family by Choice, Not by Chance

By Dr. Leslie Mancuso, President and CEO, Jhpiego

Photo by MNCH Services Project Pakistan Initiation of family planning immediately after birth is both efficient for health systems and easier for women since few women in low-resource settings are able to return to a facility for further care.

Photo by MNCH Services Project Pakistan
Initiation of family planning immediately after birth is both efficient for health systems and easier for women since few women in low-resource settings are able to return to a facility for further care.

Every year, more than 180 million babies are born around the world. The birth of a child is a joyous occasion to be cherished and celebrated, but it is also a chance for new mothers to prioritize their health and plan for the future. As such, it represents a unique opportunity to reach the thousands of women who want to prevent an unintended pregnancy within the first 2 years after giving birth, but don’t have the time or ability to access family planning counseling or services. Proven to be one of the most effective tools available to reduce the deaths of women and children and improve health, postpartum family planning (PPFP) is also one of the most underutilized. The numbers speak for themselves:

  • 225 million women in developing countries lack access to family planning information and services.
  • Unmet need for family planning is highest for women in the postpartum period, during which 92% of new mothers want to space or limit future pregnancies but only 35% are using a method of family planning.
  • Addressing the unmet need for family planning can avert more than 30% of maternal deaths.

The good news is that support and demand for family planning, especially in the postpartum period, are once again becoming a global movement. Starting with the groundbreaking  London Summit on Family Planning in 2012 and Statement for Collective Action for Postpartum Family Planning, and continuing with the recent Accelerating Access to PPFP Global Meeting in Chiang Mai, Thailand  and upcoming International Family Planning Conference

From more than 40 years of experience working at the intersection of maternal and newborn health and family planning, Jhpiego understands the importance of integrating services for both. A no-missed-opportunities approach recognizes that every service contact—prenatal visits, childbirth, postnatal care, child immunization—presents an opportunity to counsel women on their family planning options. As technical leaders, we also know that comprehensive PPFP programming requires many types of frontline health workers being involved at each step along the prenatal-to-postpartum continuum of care. In low-resource settings, midwives and nurses are often the only point of care for women during pregnancy and childbirth. That’s why ensuring that they are properly trained, supported and empowered to provide PPFP counseling and services is so critically important.

In Pakistan, for example, women have an average of 3.8 children, and 37% of births occur within intervals of less than 24 months. Recognizing the impact PPFP can have on the health of a woman, Jhpiego, in collaboration with Pakistan provincial departments of health and with support from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, is working to increase access to family planning counseling and services for women across Punjab Province. To date, 42,814 pregnant women and 24,552 postpartum women have been counselled on their family planning options and 13,209 accepted a method. In addition, the project has built the capacity of 52 Master Trainers, 550 Lady Health Visitors—a position similar to a skilled birth attendant—and 103 community health workers to provide PPFP counselling and services.

The lessons learned under the Pakistan program are currently being applied in other programs in the country, including a large Maternal and Child Integrated Program (MCHIP) associate award funded by the United States Agency for International Development that seeks to expand the range of methods offered to postpartum women and test the acceptability of male providers offering implants. This program offers an opportunity to learn about the challenges of delivering these services at a much larger scale.

We are seeing similar success with PPFP in India, which has made tremendous investments in improving nursing education and scaling up access to PPFP services through a number of partnerships with the Government at national and state levels and with support generous donors such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. These successes are not unique to Asia, as demonstrated in Burkina Faso, where a dynamic team of family planning trainers leveraged the support of the Ministry of Health and a modest commitment from Jhpiego at the 2012 London Summit to provide women in Burkina Faso with access to PPFP and exceeded all expectations.

Utilizing the skills of frontline health workers and building on the pillars of successful family planning programming, government support, collaboration, capacity building, technical continuity and integration, we can become the catalyst for bold action on behalf of millions of women. Now is the time to act, to strengthen the health workforce in this critical health care need, invest heavily in PPFP programs, ensure appropriate supplies of contraceptive methods and say a resounding yes to women who want to plan their family by choice, not by chance. Please join us and share your commitment to making sure a broad range of contraceptive options are available to women after giving birth no matter where she lives.Sign here!

BREAKING: Bipartisan Frontline Health Workers Resolution Introduced by Reps. Lowey, Crenshaw

By Scott Weathers, IntraHealth International and Frontline Health Workers Coalition

Reps. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) and Ander Crenshaw (R-Fla.) introduced H. Res. 419, “Recognizing the Importance of Frontline Health Workers” today in the U.S. House of Representatives. According to the WHO, as of 2015, at least 400 million people lack access to one of more essential health services provided by frontline health workers.

H.Res. 419 would:

* Reaffirm the “critical role of frontline health workers in achieving core global health goals, including ending preventable child and maternal deaths, ensuring global health security, and achieving an AIDS-free generation”

* Commend the “progress made by the United States in helping to build local capacity and to save lives in the world’s most vulnerable communities by training and supporting frontline health workers;”

* Acknowledge that “in the aftermath of natural disasters, disease outbreaks, and conflict, frontline health workers continue to perform critical services to save the lives of mothers and children without access to medicines, equipment, or running water in many cases;”

* Urge “greater global attention and support for local frontline health workers to ensure their ability to respond effectively during humanitarian crises and to safeguard the health of the world’s most vulnerable populations, including populations in conflict-affected states;”

* Call on “all relevant Federal agencies, including the United States Agency for International Development, the Department of State, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to develop a coordinated, comprehensive health workforce strengthening action plan that is data-driven with concrete targets for increasing equitable access to qualified health workers in developing countries, particularly in underserved areas, to support the Global Human Resources for Health Strategy.”

Full text of the resolution is available here.


Connecting Frontline Health Workers to Training and Information

By Carolyn Moore, mPowering Frontline Health Workers

For most people in developing countries, frontline health workers are the first and often only source of essential  health services.  Our partners and colleagues in the Frontline Health Workers Coalition support health workers through advocacy, programs, and policy. At mPowering Frontline Health Workers (mPowering), we focus on training.

With the right training and ready access to information they need, frontline health workers can provide critical and life-saving care to their communities. However,  research shows that training for frontline health workers is often inconsistent, insufficient, or simply not available.

With the rapid growth of mobile technology worldwide, mobile health (mHealth) offers an unprecedented opportunity to improve opportunities for training. With even a basic mobile phone, frontline health workers can listen, learn, and teach, using interactive health content.

With access to the right information and training, frontline health workers can use audio and video to support health education in communities; keep up to date with new learning or refresh their skills, and use diagnostic tools to guide them in their work.

This June, mPowering launched ORB, an online library of mobile-optimized training content. ORB aims to help frontline workers access the knowledge they need to transform health outcomes for millions of women and children.

ORB is freely available and accessible through Internet-enabled mobile devices; and content can be saved to share offline.  All of the content on ORB is published under an open license, meaning that anyone can use, distribute, and in some cases adapt, the content on ORB.

With over 300 resources, in 14 languages, ORB’s resources are being accessed in more than 100 countries. By combining easy-to-use, open source content that health workers can use online or offline, ORB has the potential to radically enhance the quality and reach of existing training efforts.

ORB by mPowering from Nathan Heidt on Vimeo.

We encourage users to view, share, and adapt the content on the site; and we welcome submissions of new content and interest in becoming a content partner. Visit ORB today to explore the content; and contact mPowering to learn more.

mPowering is a partnership working to support effective training, supervision and support for frontline health workers. We leverage the power of mobile technologies to connect health workers to the information and on-the-job resources they need.  Learn more at