Prepared by Fatma Mahmoud and Oscar Lugumamu
Using technology as a platform to strengthen the continuum of care in Kibaha, Tanzania.
Since its launch in August 2020, Afya-Tek, a fully digitized and people-centered community healthcare system, has begun to improve the coordination between community health workers (CHWs), primary health facilities, and private drug shops commonly known in Tanzania as Accredited Drug Dispensing Outlets (ADDOs) along the continuum of care in Kibaha District, Tanzania.
With financial support from Fondation Botnar, the Afya-Tek project is being implemented in Tanzania by a consortium of partners: Apotheker, D-tree International, Inspired Ideas, Simprints and the Institute of Tropical Medicine. The project is being implemented in collaboration with Regional and Council Health Management Teams in Kibaha District and Kibaha Town Councils and is coordinated through the President’s Office, Regional Administration and Local Government (PORALG) and the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children (MOHCDGEC).
The main goal of the project is to contribute towards the reduction of maternal and child deaths and improve the health of adolescents through digitally linking private drug shops, primary health facilities, and community health workers in a fully digitized, people-centered healthcare system; the first of its kind in the world. This ecosystem will save lives by improving coordination between actors in the healthcare system at the community level while building on Fondation Botnar‘s investments in cutting-edge technology, such as artificial intelligence (AI), to deliver people-centered care and improve the well-being of children, adolescents, and families in Tanzania. Lessons learned from this project will have the potential to be replicated and scaled throughout the country and beyond.
2. User Acceptance Testing ( UAT)
Apotheker and D-tree, in collaboration with SimPrints, did User Acceptance Testing on the Biometric for client’s fingerprints, palm and facial in Kibaha district. Using the Afya-Tek system, Simprints’ fingerprint scanner creates a unique ID for each person, enabling health care providers in the field to identify patients accurately and quickly access their record of care. The patient simply presents their finger for scanning; the scanner then securely transmits the biometric data – via Bluetooth – to the worker’s Android smartphone (Samsung A10).
3. Implementation of Afya-Tek Project in Kibaha District
The Afya-Tek project has been implemented since August, 2020 in both Kibaha Town Council and Kibaha District Council as a pilot project. The implementation of the Afya-Tek project involve activities such as Sensitization of local leaders, Training CHW, ADDOS and Health Facilities on how to use the digitized Afya-Tek Application and the follow up/supervision of the CHWs, ADDOs and Health Facilities Supervisors and provision of working tools ( Smartphone and Scanner to all actors) . The purpose of conducting follow up after training was to bridge the gap between knowledge gained during training and actual actions in the field. All these resulted in the registration of 53,500 households and 163,000 household members in both councils of Kibaha District.
4. Digitized Capability enhances Project Local Ownership
The engagement of the local partners is essential towards implementation of the Afya - Tek Project. The Afya-Tek digital system training involves the local trainers who were selected for Training of Trainers (TOT) from the Council Health Management Teams (CHMTs), the Regional Health Management Teams, the Pharmacy Council and Tanzania Public Health Associations (TPHA). The TOT session equipped all the trainers with Afya-Tek digitized skills and knowledge which helped them to train ADDO dispensers, Community Health Workers and Supervisors or Facility in Charge on the use of digitalized Afya-Tek Application. As a result, the Local leaders feel the sense of project ownership as they work on following up with challenges on the grounds and act as a troubleshooting team on addressing technical problems (Software and Hardware).