Online Program

Frontline health workers, technology, maps, and access to care

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Jen Lemberger, MPH, Research and Analysis, Direct Relief, Goleta, CA
Andrew Schroeder, PhD, MPP, Research and Analysis, Direct Relief, Goleta, CA
In 2012 Direct Relief (DR), a CA based medical assistance nonprofit, teamed up with Last Mile Health to launch a community-based expansion of access to pneumonia treatment for children in the district of Konobo in rural Liberia. Last Mile Health is an NGO dedicated to bringing quality healthcare services to the most remote populations of Liberia through an innovative Frontline Health Worker (FHW) program. DR supports Last Mile Health not only by supplying medical support, but also by equipping the FHWs with tools and technology to enhance their programmatic work.

Frontline Health Workers were trained to conduct a baseline survey of the area to estimate prevalence of pneumonia in children and identify barriers to care. This training included proper use of handheld GPS devices. These devices allowed FHWs to track location information for all health survey results and map the rural roads to improve speed and efficiency of health worker outreach. Last Mile Health thus created coordinate locations for all health survey results in 57 villages and created track data that formed the basis of road/path maps built by DR for the previously unmapped rural Liberian district.

These maps were shared with additional stakeholders, including the Ministry of Health. Precisely geo-coded household health survey results are now helping both Last Mile Health and the Ministry to raise questions about health access and health resource allocation. The Konobo maps have become a sort of public-private partnership, helping to guide accurate, efficient and forward-thinking healthcare decisions for rural Liberians.

Learning Areas:

Communication and informatics
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Program planning

Learning Objectives:
Describe innovative and affordable technology tools that can enhance the work of Frontline Health Workers. Explain how GPS and mapping technologies can aid in programmatic and outreach planning. Identify how maps can be working tools with other stakeholders in the community.

Keyword(s): Community Health Planning, Geographic Information Systems

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the Research and Analysis Associate for Direct Relief working on their programs from international obstetric fistula survey and program implementation to United States safety-net clinic needs assessments and strategic programs.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.