More than 70 participants attended a meeting to discuss the annual review of the upSCALE project, carried out by the Provincial Directorate of Heath of Cabo Delgado in partnership with Malaria Consortium, two years after the launch of the upSCALE platform.
The meeting, chaired by the national director of the Community Health Worker (CHW) Programme, reviewed the activities that have taken place between January and September 2018, and discussed how Malaria Consortium can continue to support and strengthen the implementation of the upSCALE platform. Among the participants were chief medical officers, CHW programme coordinators, health facility-based supervisors and CHWs from all districts of the province, as well as representatives of the Malaria Programme, the Family Planning programme, and others.
Participants discussed cross-district learning and experiences implementing upSCALE – which uses mobile phone technology to connect CHWs in rural areas with the national health information system. They also shared best practices in overcoming any remaining challenges.
Overall, participants praised upSCALE for how easy it was to use, and the availability of real-time community health data. Challenges, however, included the lack of consistent data usage by health facility-based supervisors in visualising CHW data, and the lack of regular feedback to the CHWs about their responsibility to ensure quality of care and services. It was also noted that there was suboptimal use and analysis of CHW data available through the platform for effective problem solving and monitoring.
During the discussion, concrete steps were identified that will improve the uptake and use of the upSCALE platform, as well as data analysis. Some of these steps include:Ensuring that every chief medical officer in each district receives weekly reports automatically generated by the platform so that they can closely monitor CHW supervisors and encourage them to use the data available from the platform to provide feedback to CHWs. Implementing quarterly district-level meetings with CHWs to review data from CHW activities and identify actions for improving the quality of services at community level. Implementing a peer-to-peer approach to ensure on-the-job induction of new supervisors and coordinators for the use of the upSCALE platform. Ensuring that all of the equipment of the upSCALE platform is effectively registered as district government assets, to improve accountability and responsibility of users and keep track of equipment.
A key outcome of this meeting was the commitment by the provincial health directorate to take over the management of the platform from Malaria Consortium. Since the inception of the project, Malaria Consortium has been working with local authorities to ensure that the upSCALE digital solution meets actual programme needs, and that province and district Ministry of Health staff are equipped with the tools they need to run and manage the platform on their own in the near future.