Uncovering a registry champion
By Saumu Juma, Implementation Coordinator, BID Initiative Tanzania
Dec 14, 2016
During roll out in Karatu district, “Binamu,” a Swahili word for “cousin,” became very popular among the implementation team. Binamu is the cousin to an RCH Nurse at Kansay Health Centre, a high-volume health facility where we have introduced the new electronic immunization registry. Binamu, whose given name is Raphael Joseph Buyi, is a medical attendant at the facility.
When the BID Initiative interventions were introduced at this facility, Raphael did not attend the training on how to use the electronic immunization registry. During our second visit to the facility, the RCH In-charge said she had a few things that she wanted to go through again regarding the system, before we began our activities. She called Raphael to attend the training with her because she knew he was a fast learner and would help her troubleshoot the new system if she had issues while the BID team was not on site.
From cattle attendant to medical attendant
Raphael is responsible for cleaning the facility and helps out in the RCH section. He has learned how to weigh and register children and counsels mothers on nutrition. Now, he is also helping the nurses learn to use the new electronic immunization registry.
Although Raphael did very well in school, he only completed up to class seven. He was not able to continue with secondary education because his parents could not afford the school expenses. Raphael went on to look after his uncle’s cattle, a job that he did for thirteen years. Since he could read and write, he decided to write a letter to the health facility administrator for a cleaning position.
He was first given a lawn mowing job at the facility compounds, immediately impressed facility administrators and they gave him a one-year contract. He soon started helping staff with other duties which prompted administrators to provide him with further training to be promoted to medical attendant.
A desire to learn
Raphael always has a list of questions about the system whenever he sees a BID Initiative Implementation Specialist at his facility. With a wide smile and a friendly “hello,” he takes the piece of paper out of his pocket and begins asking questions. He has learned so much, is very informed about the system, and talks about it with so much excitement and passion. I had to ask him why he has such an interest and he explained,
“I did not get a chance to further my education, but I said to myself that I will learn everything that I can to be better. I started with buying and reading all kinds of books and I have a lot of them that I also use to teach my kids at home. Using a tablet is something new to me, but I have learned how to use it because I want to be advanced in technology too. The electronic immunization registry has given me a new way of doing my job at the RCH and I learn something new every day which makes me very happy. I am ready to stop using paper registries the moment I am told to do so. My job is very exciting now and I come in very early to clean so that I can be ready to assist with the system when the clinic session starts.”
Raphael is a testament to the importance of health worker motivation in adopting new digital health tools. His desire to learn regardless of the level of education and position have made him an asset to his peers and our progress at his facility. We hope to share his story as we continue to implement BID in Tanzania, emphasizing that although it can be challenging to learn new products and practices, the ultimate goal of the BID interventions will improve health worker efficiency and health service delivery. Health workers will be able to use better data to make better decisions, trace defaulters, and improve stock management. We are looking forward to meeting more champions like Raphael as we roll out to other regions of Tanzania.