Announcement: Fondation Botnar, Apotheker, D-tree International, and partners launch first digitally-enabled responsive health initiative at the community level in Tanzania, 08/08/2019 – Basel, Switzerland.
Click here for the project fact sheet.
Fondation Botnar and partners have set up Afya-Tek, a proof of concept to integrate digital technologies into a new responsive, people-centred health initiative in the Kibaha district in the Pwani Region of Tanzania.
Afya-Tek will work to link community health workers, health facilities, and private drug dispensers, known in Tanzania as Accredited Drug Dispensing Outlets (ADDOs), to improve decision-making and quality of care along the continuum of care, helping to ensure prompt access to care and reduce unnecessary referrals. By 2021, it aims to improve the wellbeing of children, adolescents, and their families in the Kibaha district through this digitally-enabled approach that results in better case management by coordinating public and private healthcare providers at the community level. The initiative is the first of its kind to harness emerging digital tools to better connect the health system actors, including predictive analytics and biometric identification, and will begin to assess the feasibility of integrating artificial intelligence-enabled health assistants in the future. Real-time data and analytics will also be employed to enable decision makers to monitor care to ensure it is consistent with national guidelines.
Siddhartha Jha, the AI/Digital Program Manager at Fondation Botnar, said “Fondation Botnar is proud to be launching such a pioneering concept with local and international partners. By joining forces, our implementation partners can truly embrace cutting-edge technologies in an innovative approach to strengthening a health system. They are uniquely positioned to demonstrate technology integration as key to improving how we respond to the health needs of children and adolescents.”
The Tanzanian healthcare system still experiences a limited allocation of resources, resulting in more than 600,000 preventable deaths for under-five year olds, 1.2 million unintended pregnancies (including 26% of adolescent girls aged 15-19), and 9,000 preventable maternal deaths each year (Tanzania DHS 2015). Furthermore, while community health workers and ADDOs already support individual and family health at the community level, there are few formal linkages between community health workers, ADDOs and health facilities. ADDOs and community health workers also have limited access to continuing health training and opportunities to exchange critical learning and knowledge. This results in barriers to timely access to care, particularly for children and adolescents.
Digital technologies and their application to healthcare have the potential to improve efficiency, lower overall costs, and streamline the workload of health facility staff. Digitizing the flow of information can increase the coordination between the different levels and providers in the continuum. This can then bring preventive and curative care closer to communities, strengthening the overall health system in Tanzania.
To address key challenges, Fondation Botnar is working with a consortium of partners from across sectors and borders. The initiative will be led by Apotheker Consultancy (T) Ltd, a Tanzania-based Organization with expertise in pharmaceutical services, medicine access and public health.
Supporting the project as key partners are:
- D-tree International, design and deployment of the digital system;
- Inspired Ideas – winner of the 2018 Botnar Challenge – development and testing of the Dr. Elsa Health Assistant tool for use by ADDOs;
- Simprints will provide the biometric identification solution that links patients to their medical records across various levels of the integrated healthcare systems; and
- Institute of Tropical Medicine (ITM) in Antwerp, Belgium, monitoring and evaluation of the integration of digital tools into the healthcare system.
The initiative started in July 2019. Evidence and learnings from the experience of implementing this low-cost model will be evaluated with a view to be scaled across Tanzania and beyond in coming years. Dr. Angel Dillip, the Project Lead at Apotheker, said “The potential of Afya-Tek in Kibaha holds significant promise for scalability. We are excited to evaluate and learn from this initial proof of concept about the potential of emerging technologies and their role in accelerating progress for child, adolescent and maternal health in Tanzania, and beyond.”
Fondation Botnar, together with implementing partners Apotheker Consultancy (T) Ltd, D-Tree International, Inspired Ideas, Simprints and the Institute of Tropical Medicine (ITM), are deploying a proof of concept initiative: Afya-Tek, to integrate digital technologies into a new responsive, people-centred health system in Kibaha, Tanzania that links community health workers, ADDOs and health facilities. The initiative is the first of its kind to harness emerging tools, predictive analytics and biometric identification to digitize the flow of information along the continuum of care to improve efficiency, lower costs, and strengthen the overall healthcare system. Until 2021, evidence and learnings from the experience of implementing this low-cost model will be evaluated with a view to be scaled across Tanzania and beyond.
About Fondation Botnar
Fondation Botnar is a Swiss-based foundation which champions the use of AI and digital technology to improve the health and wellbeing of children and young people in growing urban environments. To achieve this, the foundation supports research, catalyses diverse partners, and invests in scalable solutions around the world: www.fondationbotnar.org
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Having technical experts with over 15 years’ experience of implementing public private partnership health program at community level, Apotheker Consultancy (T) Ltd has worked with Pharmacy Council and Tanzania Food & Drug Authority to design, pilot and scale the ADDO model in Tanzania and transfer to other African countries. Apotheker experts have worked with the Ministry of Health to integrate child health as part of Integrated Management of Childhood Illnesses (IMCI) component in to the ADDO model. Apotheker experts have been part of designing CHW model and trainings in Tanzania. They have also been key players in implementation and evaluation of various public health initiatives in Tanzania.
D-tree International is a digital global health organization committed to solving the complex health challenges of those in need through cutting-edge digital solutions. For nearly 15 years, D-tree has been a pioneer in digital health and has supported health workers serving over 5 million families in 16 countries. D-tree takes a systems approach, using public health and technology expertise to co-design, develop and implement innovative and scalable solutions which strengthen health systems, improve program efficiency, and save lives. The defining aspect of our work is end-to-end partnership. We work with ministries of health, donors, and implementing partners to define programmatic challenges,
evaluate if and how technology can be used to address those challenges, and then design and build innovative solutions.
Inspired Ideas believes in using technology to solve the biggest challenges across the African continent. Our intelligent Health Assistant, Dr. Elsa, is powered by data and artificial intelligence and supports healthcare workers in rural areas through symptom assessment, diagnostic decision support, next step recommendations, and predicting disease outbreaks. The Health Assistant augments the capacity and expertise of healthcare providers, empowering them to make more accurate decisions about their patients’ health, as well as analyzes existing health data to predict infectious disease outbreaks six months in advance. Inspired Ideas envisions building a complete end-to-end intelligent health system by putting digital tools in the hands of clinicians all over the African continent to connect providers, improve health outcomes, and support decision making within the health infrastructure that already exists. For more information, you can visit inspiredideas.io or drelsa.xyz.
Simprints’ mission is to transform the way the world fights poverty. They build technology to radically increase transparency and effectiveness in global development, making sure that every vaccine, every dollar, and every public good reaches the people who need them most. Simprints has successfully developed biometric technology that is 228% more accurate than 5 industry-leading systems with scarred, damaged fingerprints common in developing countries. Backed by the Gates Foundation, USAID, DFID, Fondation Botnar, and Gavi (the Vaccine Alliance), Simprints enables digital identification at the last mile, helping impact partners like BRAC, Mercy Corps, the Ethiopian Ministry of Health, and the Afghani Ministry of Education deliver essential services. To date, they have deployed in 12 countries across South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, reaching over 280,000 in total.
Institute of Tropical Medicine
The Institute of Tropical Medicine Antwerp (ITM), Belgium, works to advance medical science to improve the lives of people affected by tropical diseases and poor public health through fundamental and applied research, advanced education and expert services. Students from around the world specialise at ITM and our researchers seek a better understanding of tropical diseases, as well as the organisation and management of health care and disease control, in regions where needs are huge but means are limited. Every year, we vaccinate tens of thousands of travellers and offer preventive and clinical care to returned travellers. As a reference centre for tropical diseases, public health and HIV/AIDS, we provide expert advice and collaborate with partner organisations worldwide. www.itg.be. Annual report 2018: https://2018.itg.be/