Group well being employees in Bangladesh needed to adapt rapidly throughout COVID-19 to proceed their correct and much-needed assist. With assist from BRAC (a big, Bangladesh-based NGO), they used new distant studying expertise to remain updated on the most recent points and supply reassurance and steering to their local people.
A Shasthya Kormis/Group Well being Employee makes use of Dishari to share up-to-date data on COVID-19 together with her group.
Picture Credit score: Abdullah Al Kafi
Group well being employees (CHWs) frequently convey important well being providers and training proper to folks’s doorsteps. Leveraging their lived expertise and understanding of native realities, they’re usually the primary level of look after weak and under-served populations in resource-constrained settings. CHW interventions are contributing to a decline in baby marriage, maternal and neonatal mortality and will increase in household planning and diabetes self-management throughout nations.
The unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic prompted CHWs worldwide to not solely rethink methods of delivering major well being care, but in addition find out how to act as a trusted supply of knowledge throughout an unpredictable time.
The Shasthya Kormis (SK) – a cadre of skilled CHWs at BRAC (A big NGO based mostly in Bangladesh) – had been no completely different. Armed with fundamental coaching, an Android pill, and first non-communicable illness screening gadgets, these 4500 SKs make common visits to households and hyperlink them to institutional care by way of authorities hospitals of their locality. Controlling the unfold of COVID-19 in Bangladesh in mid-2020 meant restricted entry to facility-based healthcare and the group relied on SK’s assist greater than ever. Many SKs reported that rumors and misinformation had been spreading quick of their group and elevating danger consciousness was the necessity of the hour.
To handle this, nevertheless, SKs wanted to adapt to new protocols often and be taught new data and strategies to offer assist. As lockdowns continued throughout Bangladesh, SKs might now not depend on in-person, group periods to remain updated as they as soon as had.
That is when the well being program of BRAC, in collaboration with a crew from Shahjalal College of Science & Expertise (Sylhet, Bangladesh), kickstarted the event of Dishari: a distant studying platform to coach SKs on elevating danger consciousness and addressing misinformation concerning COVID-19 in the neighborhood; emphasizing the effectiveness of preventive measures; protected practices for partaking with sufferers through the COVID-19 outbreak; and the continuity of look after non-COVID-19 well being wants (corresponding to maternal and baby well being).
Contemplating the background of the SKs (who’ve some restricted digital literacy from common use of Android tablets), the venture crew designed a light-weight, android-based app with a easy interface in Bangla, with out the necessity for in depth typing. The programs consisted of pictures and brief movies, whereas exams consisted of multiple-choice questions. Senior medical officers inside the well being program had been consulted to make sure essentially the most up-to-date recommendation was obtainable. One element built-in into the system assessed the information degree of every SK and guided them accordingly. One other element, a supervisor dashboard, compiled mixture knowledge on customers’ studying performances and pushed out essential messages.
Though it was initially difficult for the venture crew and builders to work remotely, collaborative instruments had been leveraged to bridge this hole later. The prototype of the app was examined in two places: Dhaka, overlaying a pool of SKs in an city setting; and Khulna, overlaying a rural setting. As preparation, in-office coaching was performed within the department places of work, with attendees and trainers sustaining strict social distancing and security protocols. The coaching periods had been overseen by the realm managers, who additionally put in the app on each participant’s pill. The individuals turned acquainted with the app with the assistance of the realm supervisor, who walked them by way of a course, after which the category accomplished an examination on that matter collectively. After reviewing the problem-solving course of within the app, they independently accomplished one other set of programs and exams. Subsequently, the individuals shared their suggestions on the preliminary model of the applying and accomplished one other spherical of coaching from house, which got here with a deadline enforced inside the app.
The preliminary testing yielded promising outcomes amongst collaborating SKs who had been in a position to exhibit excessive information retention after utilizing Dishari. Throughout focus group discussions, they indicated that the platform was straightforward to make use of and enhanced their information of well being matters.
Following the launch of the app on the Google Play retailer in June 2020, it was efficiently piloted to coach the SKs working below BRAC’s first complete COVID-19 response venture in Gazipur (Bangladesh), which instantly impacted 300,000 folks.
Distant coaching platforms can play a key half in quickly equipping well being employees with the mandatory information within the face of an epidemic or pandemic and guarantee steady studying for important well being employees. In latest instances, Dishari has been mainstreamed throughout the well being program of BRAC to make sure capability continues to construct for the three,685 group well being employees throughout 51 districts, who serve a catchment inhabitants of 58 million.