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Cohesion: Expanding the data collection capacity of Community Health Workers in Kenya

Updated: Aug 24, 2020

Kenya’s Ministry of Health (MOH) Community Health Strategy revolves around established Community Health Units (CUs) across the country that are tasked with collecting local populations' vital health information and serving their needs. Community Health Workers (CHWs), who are enlisted by their community units perform a variety of essential health activities such as maternal and newborn care, parent support groups, counseling, nutrition support, and immunizations.

The data collection tools employed by CHWs - household surveys, are designed with reference to global standards such as the USAID Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS), and the UNICEF Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MISC), that primarily focus on mother and child health.

In 2017, Cohesu's Ground Zero program implemented a mobile phone platform (Cohesion) that gathered daily stool information at the household level and relayed it to an assigned CHW for intervention; as diarrhea stands at Kenya's 3rd most common cause of mortality in-country.

At the end of our operations in 2019, a review of feedback from the CHWs and their engagement data on our platform indicated that CHWs need a modern set of tools that can augment their operations and enable new insights into public health while simplifying data collection and enhancing accuracy.

Today, household data is perhaps one of the most important data sources for a wide range of critical demographic and socio-economic statistics that are used by Governments for policy, academic researchers, and businesses around the world to improve public health.

On the 27th of July 2020, Cohesion relaunched its applications with a much wider scope. At its core, Cohesion remains a data platform for household data; an android application as its connector to households, the analytics tools needed to parse through huge datasets, and help generate insights and infrastructure that prioritizes data security and privacy throughout all its faucets.

The primary objective is to make household data more accessible to researchers, businesses and most importantly, the Government.

Cohesion’s low hanging fruit is an opportunity to CHWs and their supervisors to significantly improve their efficiency by providing modern mobile digital data collection and processing tools for:

  • Improved accuracy of data. All activity on the application is time and location stamped.

  • Generated insights from historical data about households to provide CHWs with context and guidance for better-informed diagnoses and treatments.

  • Key Performance Metrics (KPIs) can be defined based on the completion rate of their tasks as well as other data points. These KPIs can be used to develop more effective incentives and enable reviews of their ROI.

  • Third parties interested in plugging into the infrastructure enable CHWs to earn an additional income stream through contracted surveys, interviews, sales, or advertising at the household level.

  • 40 hours/month saved per community unit through automated reports.

  • Live dashboards for controlled low touch data sharing.

Cohesion’s data structures are based on the MOH monitoring and evaluation plan for community health services. However, digitally-enabled CHWs present the Kenyan Central and County Governments and other partiers with an opportunity to engage households across several sectors and granularity.

In the short term Cohesu is seeking partners who can make use of the existing datasets as well as define and make use of others in; nutrition monitoring, household finances, and dependencies, livestock assets and income, and land use, ownership, and crop yield.

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