Sophie Ackers, Martina De Trapaga and Prat Panda get to know a community health worker at her home in Uganda.
Meet Sara. She’s a confident woman who feels the most joy when neighbors in her village just outside Uganda call her “Musawo,” which means “Doctor.”
But she’s not actually a doctor.
She’s a community health volunteer who has received health care training. This is the reality in many low-income communities around the world, especially in rural, sub-Saharan African communities like Moranga, where there is limited access to quality health care services.
I met Sara through an Accenture Development Partnerships’ project with Living Goods, an innovative global health non-governmental organization (NGO), with a goal of improving demand for immunization in Uganda and Kenya through community health interventions.
What Sara lacks in formal health care experience, she makes up for in passion.
Sara navigates her role as a community health volunteer with a smart phone as her guide, provided by Living Goods, which provides the support structure she needs to succeed.
Helping families survive and thrive
Sara represents the lifeblood of poor communities around the world. Her story can be found in countries like Kenya, Sierra Leone, Guatemala and India, where digitally enabled community health volunteers labor to ensure families are surviving and thriving.
While Sara and her fellow volunteers love what they do, they face numerous hardships in their endeavor to help their communities. Funding is scarce, so they typically do not get paid a living wage for the work they do, and there are numerous practical challenges, from a lack of technology to sometimes limited access to electricity.
But when the infrastructural basics are in place, the opportunity for digital technology to transform community health care is extraordinary.
For instance, through an app she uses on her phone, Sara collects a wealth of household data. That data is fed to the NGO, which then works with governments to make critical public health decisions, such as identifying where vaccines are needed most or even moving the policy needle on big-ticket items like universal health coverage.
Empowering community health workers like Sara is the first step on the journey to ensuring that health care gets to people when they need it the most.
Helping healthy kids lead long lives
From the outset, our Accenture Development Partnerships’ team—Kris Ansin, Alis Cambol, Sophie Ackers and Martina de Trapaga—saw opportunities to build trust and knowledge with underserved communities, especially in rural areas.
In today’s world, children should not have to suffer from preventable diseases. We knew we had the opportunity to drastically increase the percentage of fully immunized people in sub-Saharan African countries.
The Accenture Development Partnerships’ team took a human-centered approach to identify innovations to help the Community Health Workers promote immunization in the rural communities. Prat, Alis, Martina, Sophie and Kris spent weeks in Kenya and Uganda speaking directly with parents, community leaders and community health workers in their communities to understand the challenges they face when it comes to getting kids immunized.
The team used this research to inform several design workshops with Community Health Workers and Living Goods’ staff to co-create solutions to drive demand for immunization. For example, the team designed a solution on Community Health Workers’ phones that leverages predictive analytics to help health workers prioritize local outreach activities, targeting caregivers at highest risk of uncooperativeness, mistrust or basic awareness.
We’ve also used storytelling to educate community members about the importance of immunizations. Using pictures and other visual aids helps clearly communicate the need for children (and ultimately everyone) to receive recommended vaccinations.
Through our efforts, we’re helping develop solutions to local wellness issues and increase the uptake of vaccinations in Kenya and Uganda.
Helping change the world through Accenture Development Partnerships
We’ve seen how new technologies and business models can transform how the international development sector serves people in need, but many organizations struggle to access these innovations on their own.
Accenture Development Partnerships offers our people the opportunity to help organizations in this sector dramatically increase their impact in areas such as global health care, education, financial inclusion and energy access.
By applying the talents of our people, and our capabilities and experience, we are empowering our clients, including NGOs, foundations and government financial institutions, to improve millions of lives in the developing world.
It’s just one of the reasons why we made FORTUNE’s list of companies that are changing the world.
Innovate with cutting-edge technology and do work that truly makes a difference, every day. Find your fit with Accenture.
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