The Supporting LIFE trials have been recently finished. Although a thorough analysis of results will take a lot of time, the Supporting LIFE team has already compiled a few preliminary findings. These findings will be presented to local stakeholders on 9 February in Lilongwe, the capital of Malawi.
What difference does it make if HSAs use the Supporting LIFE app instead of paper-based CCM? As of next week, first data will be available to answer this question.
This autumn, Supporting LIFE and 100 Malawi health surveillance assistants set out to quantify the effect of Supporting LIFE’s mobile community case management application on health system outcomes.
Health Surveillance Assistants (HSAs) involved in a feasibility study preferred the Supporting LIFE Community Case Management (CCM) mobile app over the paper-based version. The app increased adherence to the CCM guidelines, which could help save children’s lives.
In low- and middle-income countries, the clinical decision tool Community Case Management helps frontline health workers to correctly diagnose major causes of morbidity and mortality (e.g. pneumonia, malaria) of under-5 children. This decision tool saves lives, and mobile technology can increase its effectiveness.
eHealth has the potential to improve healthcare in low- and middle-income countries. However, only with adequate training can eHealth reach its full potential. This is why Supporting LIFE partners have developed a course “Introduction to ICT and eHealth” for Malawi Health Surveillance Assistants (HSAs).
A first feasibility study from 2015 indicated that the Supporting LIFE application has the potential to improve the clinical outcomes of children. In a more extensive and quantitative study, Supporting LIFE now wants to measure this effect in order to give decision-makers the information they need to improve healthcare services.
For the clinical trials, Supporting LIFE aims to recruit 100 health surveillance assistants from Nkhata Bay and Rumphi districts in Northern Malawi. The trials are planned to start in October/November 2016. Once the results have been analysed and interpreted, a summary of results will be presented to the Malawi Ministry of Health.
eHealth solutions promise to improve health outcomes, particularly in developing countries. However, they can reach their full potential only if community health workers are adequately trained at using ICT and eHealth applications. This is why Supporting LIFE partners Luke International and Imperial College London, together with Norwegian Church Aid, developed a training course for community health workers in Malawi.
The courses were conducted in November and December 2015, a few photos and more information can be found on the website of the Malawi eHealth Research Centre.
The SL team are currently investigating on the ground the usability, and acceptability of the SL eCCM app to HSAs and the feasibility of using it to clinically manage children presenting to village clinics in Malawi. The overall goal of this study is to improve standards of care and to establish ways to ameliorate many of the existing barriers to healthcare delivery in low-income settings. The image on the left illustrates disease surveillance thus far in the study.
The first official Supporting LIFE (SL) report to the European Comission has been approved with no revisions requested. View the Report Summary.
The project is progressing well, with as of December 2014, version 5.0 of the SL eCCM App released. Moreover, SUPPORTING LIFE members have completed a working paper on feasible techniques as well as a report on software solution and design and also undertook systematic reviews to assess the diagnostic value of vital signals as well as an electronic version of an IMCI. Along with this there is also some more good news: There will be a field study in Malawi this coming September.
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