Community Health Volunteers (CHVs) provide the vital first line of primary health care to Rohingya communities in refugee settlements around Cox’s Bazar. Traveling on foot from house to house, they help educate and inform households on key health issues, collect health data, carry out basic health monitoring and refer patients in need of care. A part of the community themselves, they are able to quickly build trust and rapport. To support CHVs in this crucial work, Community Partners International (CPI) recently launched an initiative to develop a health application for use on handheld devices.
Built on an open-source platform, CPI plans to provide the application to 47 CHVs in CPI’s network, loaded onto handheld tablets that they will carry with them on their house calls. The application will provide a suite of functions and resources that will help CHVs to provide better services to their community. Using the application, they can register new clients in seconds and input key health data in their client record. They can immediately access and update this data on subsequent visits to support health monitoring, follow-up and referral activities. This will be particularly useful in helping CHVs to monitor the health of pregnant women, newborns and young children.
The application also provides a growing suite of resources, including films and graphics, to support CHVs' efforts to educate and inform the community on key health issues. Uniquely, CPI will support CHVs use the tablets to create new content themselves in Rohingya language that they can use in their health education activities.
In mid-March, CPI delivered the first five tablets to the CHVs, loaded with a pilot version of the health application as part of a series of training workshops. During the first workshop, eight senior CHVs were trained as ‘superusers’. They learned how to use the tablet and health application, and how to train others to do so. They also learned how to design new video content for health education, write scripts, and make videos that can be used with the health application.
During the second workshop, 30 CHVs came together to learn how to create health education videos using the tablets. Divided into small groups, and guided by the ‘superusers’, they wrote scripts focused on particular health messages, and then made practice films.
As the tablets and health application are rolled out in the coming months, CPI will work with the CHVs to tweak the application, develop and approve new content, and effectively use these new tools to support their efforts provide the first line of health care to the Rohingya communities they serve.
This initiative is part of CPI’s ongoing efforts to empower Rohingya communities in Cox’s Bazar to meet their health care needs.