Reflections & Insights on Digital Training for Health Workers in Ethiopia and Kenya

Eline van de Kamp joined Health[e]Foundation in February 2024 to pursue her internship focused on “Assessment of an integrated digital training program for community health workers in Ethiopia and Kenya”. Over the past months, Eline has been a highly valued member of the team and we wish her the best on her future endeavors. Below you can read Eline’s own reflection on her time with us.

Over the past five months, I have had the exciting opportunity to be part of the Health[e]Foundation team, working on my Master’s thesis in Global Health Research. My focus was on evaluating the Health[e]Family pilot project, a collaboration between the Health[e]Foundation, Nuru Ethiopia, and Nuru Kenya. This project aimed to support community health workers (CHWs) working in remote communities in Ethiopia and Kenya, to improve maternal and newborn health by providing them with tablets with digital health tools.

The digital health tools on the tablet included e-learning modules to improve their knowledge and skills, as well as the LUCY Care app, which helps the CHWs provide health information to pregnant women and new mothers more easily and efficiently.

To make sure CHWs were at the center of this evaluation, we organized workshops in Ethiopia and Kenya, bringing together all CHWs who participated in the pilot. During these workshops, we had focus group discussions and interviews to learn about their experiences with the digital health tools. We talked about what they liked and didn’t like, how useful the tools were for their work, and how they used the tools in their daily tasks. Our goal was to together find the best ways to support these CHWs.

Working with and learning from these CHWs was truly inspiring and it was great to see the positive impact of the project on their lives and communities. Here are some notable quotes from the CHWs: 

  • “The e-modules have more information than other trainings I have done before.”
  • “Community members thought it was exciting: ‘How is it that this man knows what is happening to us?’ When they saw it was not from my head but from the tablet, they were very excited.”
  • “When I am introducing myself and have the tablet on me, they give a lot of respect. They call us doctors at the community level. We are known as the village doctors.”
  • “I feel better equipped to help my community”
  • “Previously, we were forced to carry all the necessary hardcopy documents, like registers, tally sheets, and family health guidance during home visits. Due to this, we were missing many mothers, but now it is very easy to only take a single tablet with us to visit households and advise them on healthy behaviors.”
  • “I am visiting more mothers compared to before.”

The project really shows the potential benefits from digital health interventions. In addition to the LUCY Mom app who has already reached closed to 10 000 women, I am excited to see LUCY Care grow as well.

I am really grateful for the opportunity to work on this project, but also for experiencing a global health organization from the inside, learning more about applying for grants, setting up collaborations with partners, and the technical development of digital health tools. I will carry the lessons I learned with me throughout my career. A huge thanks to the team for all their kindness, guidance, and support.