July 2013

  • Sarah V. Harlan

    CCP | Learning Director

    Last week, a great piece was posted to the Impatient Optimists blog about the USAID-funded Integrated Family Health Program (IFHP), which uses task-shifting and a unique service delivery model to improve access to a wider range of contraceptive methods among women in rural areas of Ethiopia. (Read more about IFHP here).

    A group of Ethiopian women practice implant insertion on a model

    A group of Ethiopian women practice implant insertion on a model.

    © 2009 Mengistu Asnake, Courtesy of Photoshare

    Having worked on the K4Health needs assessment and Network-Mapping study among family planning and reproductive health (FP/RH) stakeholders in Ethiopia, this topic was of particular interest to me. While Ethiopia has made huge strides in FP in the past couple of decades, only about 27% of women use a modern contraceptive method, and 25% of women still have an unmet need for family planning. Further, there is a stark contrast between urban and rural areas; use of modern methods is 56% in Addis Ababa, but is less than 10% in some of the most remote areas (Ethiopia DHS, 2011). Women—particularly those in rural areas—are clearly not receiving optimal care. And this is the case for millions of other women in hard-to-reach areas throughout the world.

    Since last year’s London Summit on Family Planning, the group Family Planning 2020 (FP2020) has set the goal of improving access to voluntary family planning information, contraceptives, and services to 120 million women in the poorest countries by 2020. While this is a daunting task, there are number of ways to start. Advocacy is extremely important, as is working with the Ministry of Health and local organizations to ensure that policies are supportive of a range of contraceptive methods. Operations research is crucial in order to be able to design evidence-based programs that respond to actual needs, preferences, and contraceptive use patterns among women—as well as their providers.

    In addition, those of us working in knowledge management (KM) will tell you that knowledge exchange has a crucial role to play in improving access to family planning in hard-to-reach areas.

  • Jarret Cassaniti

    CCP | Program Officer

    A recent Impatient Optimists blog post by Imani Cheers shows how community health workers in Malawi are using mobile technology to counter unreliable and out of date information. Concern Worldwide’s project, Chipatala cha pa foni (Health Center by Phone), connects information seekers to a District Hospital by phone. Making accurate health information available and accessible through innovative means is what we’re all about at K4Health. Read about other countries’ experiences using mobile technologies to improve health services in our  mHealth Toolkit


    Doreen Namasala has been a community health worker for over a decade in rural Malawi, a small landlocked country in southeast Africa. With a population of roughly 15 million, an estimated 60 percent of women report having serious problems accessing health care due to distance, according to the country’s ministry of health.

  • Jarret Cassaniti

    CCP | Program Officer

    “In a lot of foreign markets, people think that the Internet is Facebook,” said Clark Fredricksen, a vice president at eMarketer.

    This quote from a recent New York Times article about Facebook’s effort to make the world’s most popular website accessible on feature phones is striking to many who discovered the internet well before Facebook’s arrival. The Facebook for Every Phone project promises to accelerate connections between people in India, Brazil, Nigeria, and other countries where Facebook is the predominant social network.  Until very recently, users needed a web browser to join the social network. 

    Eventually, the company realized that tens of millions of people in developing countries were eager to try Facebook but had no access to a computer, nor could they afford the $600 iPhones or $40-a-month data plans common in the developed world.

    A social interaction map developed with third party software Netvizz and Gephi

    A social interaction map developed with third party software Netvizz and Gephi.

    In K4Health’s work in Nigeria, we have employed a closed Facebook Group to help promote the project’s Nigerian authored eLearning courses for Medical Laboratory Scientists (MLS). The Group, which has attracted over 4,340 members in six months, has clearly demonstrated the value of meeting people where they are. Many of the Group members join and participate through their BlackBerrys and other smart phones. Facebook access for feature phones will no-doubt increase membership and involvement.

    The majority of the interactions in the Group have focused on accessing and navigating the eLearning courses supplemented by questions about course content. Several Group members have responded to other posts by sharing their experiences and thus the Group serves as a community of practice.

    The map on this page provides a visual representation of the relationships and social interactions among Group members. Currently, the moderator is at the center of the network with clusters of members siting on the periphery. In the future, we would like to see more and bigger clusters with the moderator playing a smaller role. We hope this will be possible when more MLS have access to Facebook. 

  • Jean Fairbairn

    EIFL (Electronic Information for Libraries), Public Library Innovation Programme | Communication Coordinator
    ICT training at Public Library Fran Galovic in Croatia includes young Roma adults

    ICT training at Public Library Fran Galovic in Croatia includes young Roma adults.

    The Electronic Information for Libraries (EIFL) Public Library Innovation Programme (EIFL-PLIP) has presented Innovation Awards to five public library services that promote social inclusion in their communities.

    The EIFL-PLIP Innovation Awards aim to find and share stories about innovative public library services – and to inspire public libraries everywhere to innovate. Please share stories about any innovative public library services with us by emailing jean.fairbairn@eifl.net.

  • Becca Simon

    (Formerly) CCP | Communications Director

    This post by Heather Valli originally appeared on the Global Health Knowledge Collaborative (GHKC) Blog. Valli candidly shares her experience using a blended learning approach for an in-house program on leadership in human resources for health. You can learn more about blended learning with the K4Health Blended Learning Guide (PDF). 

    In January, 2013, I started working with a KM expert, two instructional designers, and an extremely gifted intern to develop an in-house blended learning program (eLearning combined with other methods) for IntraHealth International staff. Named the Global Health Workforce Leaders course, the pilot program was designed to “encourage HRH pioneers and advocates for a present, ready, connected and safe health workforce.” It was a 12-week program, including the introductory week and a wrap-up week, and it launched in mid-March.