Software

Building Ecosystems that Drive Change

Our experience and track record working to implement projects across our focus areas have shown us that without a unified, collaborative approach, interventions tend to be ineffective and sometimes, inappropriate for the contexts that we work in. We know that solutions and systems are more impactful when they are built in proximity to the environments in which they are needed, and in partnership with stakeholders who have a close grasp of the challenges to be addressed.

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Our goal is to build solutions that address local needs harnessing the power of technology and data. Therefore, we invest in growing the tech ecosystem and sharing our knowledge, lessons, and experience with our partners.
We host meetups and hackathons to create platforms for innovative organizations and individuals to share their work with the global tech community and to support governments with real, context-appropriate solutions to their development challenges. Recently, our GRID3 team partnered with CoLab Innovation Hub, the Kaduna State Bureau of Statistics (KDBS), the Kaduna State Budget and Planning Commission, the Kaduna State Government, and Kaduna ICT Hub to hold KadHack2018, a first of its kind hackathon aimed at providing software developers and stakeholders in the technology sector to engage the Kaduna state government and gain firsthand insight into the challenges in the Education and Health sectors, in order to come up with software prototypes that could be further developed to solve problems within those sectors.

Currently, most learning and education in Nigeria’s tech field are driven by the individuals themselves using resources, which are often external and not based on local challenges. An ecosystem should be self-sufficient. This means that members of the ecosystem should be able to learn, grow, earn and contribute to building the ecosystem. To this end, eHealth Africa is interested in further building the tech ecosystem in Kano State as a pipeline for developing tech talent to build solutions for the local context. Our software team is hosting its March tech meetup on the 30th of March, 2018 at the eHA Kano Campus by 12 pm. The event will feature in-depth knowledge sharing sessions with our team using real, relatable challenges and practical solutions. Read about our last meetups in Berlin and Kano.

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If you are interested in gaining more knowledge to build software solutions that address challenges in health, education, and agriculture, then, register to attend the event here.

Practical Solutions to Challenges in Reporting: LoMIS Stock and eIDSR

By Abdullahi Halilu Katuka and Emerald Awa- Agwu

LoMIS Stock is an electronic stock management tool, developed by eHealth Africa as a part of a suite of mobile and web applications that address supply chain and logistics challenges in health systems, especially in Northern Nigeria. LoMIS Stock helps health workers report and keep track of vaccine stock usage and availability at the health facility level. Using these reports, their supervisors can prevent stock-outs at their health facilities by ensuring that vaccines and other commodities are always available. The information from LoMIS Stock also gives governments the real-time data that is needed to plan programs and interventions and to resolve issues.

The LoMIS Stock solution was introduced to Kano State in 2014 and is currently the official logistics management tool for Kano State Primary Health Care Management Board (KSPHCMB). Currently, the State cold store, all 44 Local Government cold stores, and 484 apex health facilities in Kano send weekly reports using the LoMIS Stock application.

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Although health facilities reporting times have dropped by over 50% and reporting rates have tripled since the introduction of LoMIS Stock, certain facilities in hard to reach areas were consistently unable to send reports due to mobile data network challenges. Gleaning from lessons learned from a similar challenge encountered with our electronic Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response System (eIDSR) solution in Sierra Leone, eHealth Africa added an SMS compression feature to the LoMIS Stock application.

In Sierra Leone, we have recorded a significant improvement in the number of facilities that send timely reports using the eIDSR application. Health facility workers in Sierra Leone use eIDSR to collect data offline on epidemiologically important diseases and send surveillance reports. Initially, in areas with poor connectivity, the application would store the reports and submit automatically as soon as an internet or mobile connection became available. However, this meant that such facilities didn’t always meet the targets for timely reporting.

Introducing the SMS compression feature enabled health workers in the defaulting facilities to send their weekly reports using a USSD short code if an internet connection or mobile data was unavailable. Thanks to this feature,  all the districts in Sierra Leone consistently exceed the World Health Organization (WHO) African region and national report completeness and timeliness targets.

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The USSD feature for LoMIS Stock has been piloted with the pharmaceutical department of KSPHCMB to monitor incoming and outgoing stocks and the results have promising. In the first month, the stock count report at the pilot health facilities shows 100% stock sufficiency reporting and 0% wastage. After the pilot period, the feature will be rolled out to all departments of KSPHCMB to allow better reporting and increased efficiency across health facilities in Kano state.

Innovative problem solving is one of our values at eHealth Africa and this is an example of how eHA develops context-specific solutions to problems in healthcare delivery.

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