Best Investment for a Healthier World


Happy Birthday! Online library of mHealth Training Materials ORB Turns Two.

Photo courtesy of mPowering Frontline Health Workers.

Photo courtesy of mPowering Frontline Health Workers.

By Alex Kellerstrass, mPowering Frontline Health Workers

In the summer of 2015, the mPowering Frontline Health Workers partnership launched ORB an online library of mobile health worker training materials, along with support from their network of partners. The rising temperatures of another Washington D.C. summer marks the second birthday of ORB and this milestone serves as an opportunity to reflect on how the online library has grown over these last two years.

ORB launched with a robust platform made up of several health domains including family planning, prenatal/antenatal care, newborn care, labor and delivery, and nutrition. mPowering immediately began an advocacy campaign throughout their global network promoting the open-licensed sharing of content—specifically through the use of Creative Commons Licensing—urging others to share their existing training materials on the platform.

mPowering worked with partners including Medical Aid Films, Digital Campus, Johns Hopkins Center for Communications Programs and many others to adapt and disseminate content on the ORB platform—extending the reach of existing materials for use on community, regional, national or global levels. ORB’s foundation is grounded in several of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as it promotes quality education, partnership through content sharing, and improved health. In advocating for ORB, the message became two-fold: promoting the open-license sharing of materials as well as the benefits of using mobile learning tools in training.

All ORB content is not only open-licensed, but also mobile-optimized—meaning the materials are suitable for viewing on mobile devices such as a tablets, laptops, smart phones or feature phones. mPowering has worked with several content creators to facilitate the adaptation of materials to a mobile-ready format. Through these and other collaborations, ORB content has been used in nurse training programs in Zambia, midwife training in Nigeria, and continues to be integrated into mPowering’s country program and advocacy initiatives in Uganda, Pakistan, Sierra Leone and the Latin America and the Caribbean region.

As ORB turns 2 years old, it looks a little different than it did in the summer of 2015. The site is now completely translatable into Spanish. The platform has expanded to include two additional health domains with Zika and WASH materials, there are resources in 44 languages, and is accessed in 155 countries. mPowering has continued to add new features to streamline users’ ability to search and upload content to the site and future plans include additional features that would allow users to build simple exportable courses with ORB materials.

mPowering is committed to using ORB as a tool to train more health workers in an effort to end preventable maternal and child deaths. Frontline health workers are often relied upon for so much within the communities they serve. Supporting ORB through sharing content and using ORB materials in training programs is in turn supporting health workers and those communities they serve. As we look toward the year ahead, mPowering will continue to build ORB and advocate for the goals and principles that formed its foundation. We hope you’ll join us in this effort.

USAID’S Maternal and Child Survival Program serves as mPowering’s secretariat. mPowering is a public private partnership focused on mobile training for frontline health workers. Learn more at