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Meet Lucy: A Health Worker’s Job Before and After the BID Initiative

By Mwanaidi Msangi, Communications Associate, BID Initiative

Jun 3, 2015

Posted in , ,

PATH/Mwanaidi Msangi

PATH/Mwanaidi Msangi. Lucy attending to an infant at the health facility.

Meet Lucy. Lucy is a head nurse in a busy, urban facility in Arusha, Tanzania. Like many health workers in Sub-Saharan Africa, Lucy and her colleagues must sift through dense immunization registries to identify kids who need to be immunized. But her job doesn’t stop there. Lucy must also make sure she has enough stock on hand to deliver vaccines and prepare a monthly report for the district.

Hundreds of children visit Lucy’s facility each day for immunizations and health-checkups. Lucy and her team must find them in the registry, weigh them, vaccinate them, and fill out their child health cards; a time-consuming process. Even after Lucy gets through the long line of children, days of reporting at the end of the month await her and her team. Because there’s not enough time in the day to provide health services and finish end of month reports, Lucy is forced to stay behind after the clinic closes or on weekends, instead of spending time with her family. Additionally, after using nights and weekends finalizing reports to submit them on time to the district level, data rarely comes back to Lucy and her team to help them make evidenced-based decisions that would allow her to improve services, work more efficiently, and learn best practices from other facilities.

With the BID Initiative interventions rolling out in the Arusha region, there will be key solutions designed to make Lucy’s life easier, enable her to do her job better, and reach more kids. All children will now be entered into a new electronic immunization registry system. Once registered, each child will be given a barcode that will be attached to their health card that represents the child’s ID. When the child returns to the facility, Lucy will scan the child’s barcode sticker into the electronic system and simply enter which vaccines they received that day. For her peers in smaller or rural clinics, they will use a simplified paper register. This system will not only tell Lucy and her team the number of kids they need to see in a month, they’ll also know exactly who those kids are by name and where to find them if they do not come for the vaccinations because she will have the mother’s mobile number. They will also know if the child has received their immunizations elsewhere so that they are not considered defaulters – or flagged as a child who missed a vaccination.

Simplified, auto-generated reports will allow her and her team to spend less time filling out reports, reducing chances of error. Additionally, Lucy will learn how to use the data in a meaningful way to better plan how to best use her team and resources to serve patients. She will also receive a monthly dashboard that will tell her not only how her clinic is performing, but how neighboring facilities are performing. Through interventions like the WhatsApp group, Lucy will be more connected to her peers for real-time support and advice.

Lucy will be connected. Connected to the data from her facility that will help her make better decisions around how to deliver services to reach more children. Connected to her peers to learn from them, get and give advice, and to motivate her to keep improving her work. And connected to what she signed up to do as a nurse– provide health care and protect children from life-threatening, vaccine-preventable diseases.

As we continue with implementation, you can track our progress as we roll out interventions to all immunizing health facilities in the Arusha region in our interactive map.

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