BUCHANAN, Grand Bassa – The Ministry of Health, through its Community Health Services Division, has costed its plan to digitize the National Community Health Assistant Program.
With support from Last Mile Health, an organization at the forefront of the community health assistant program in Liberia, health officials gathered in Buchanan, Grand Bassa to develop the costed implementation plan.
The community health assistant program assigns community volunteers to communities to assist health authorities in mapping, identification, and registration of pregnant women. A community health assistant also registers the number of deaths in their assigned community, as part of an overall goal of improving health care delivery in the community. Often, these communities are too far from health facilities and the presence of community health assistants can allow residents to have better access to healthcare.
The director of the Community Health Services Division, Olasford Wiah, said the technical meeting allowed partners to identify and agree on critical steps in the process. The meeting also allowed members of the group to specify and define their various roles and identify the types of technical assistance needed for the curriculum revision and digitization.
“We as a division have worked with our implementing partners and we called this meeting so that we [could] detail out our plan to digitize the community health program,” he said.
“So, we were looking as to how or what are those steps or activities that are needed to actually develop a costed road map to the full implementation of the digital health platform of the Community Health Assistant Program.”
Wiah said, as the world is evolving and technology plays a greater role, Liberia cannot afford to be left behind. He noted that if the country must add value and quality to its community health services, it must attempt to utilize existing technologies in areas of specialty.
In the past, he said the community health assistant program has operated as a paper-based program and transitioning to a digital platform would add value and quality.
“So, the plan is to ensure that we develop software that will be installed on the mobile phones that we have for all of our CHA [community health assistants] and CHSS [community health services supervisors] in the community as well as the stakeholders and decision makers at the Ministry of Health that can be used to deliver service delivery as well as collecting data and sharing,” he also noted.
He said the application developed as part of the plan would also be used by national stakeholders, including ministers and other officials, to be able to track the community health programs and follow events or activities ongoing in the community in real-time.
Digitization would also enable the community health assistants and their supervisors to access short videos about training materials on how to execute particular functions in the absence of their superiors, Wiah said.
According to him, the NCHA program curriculum digitization and costed implementation plan was developed by the technical working group and will be reviewed and validated in a month period, after which it will be formally launched.
Featured photo by Sampson David