OnQ Blog

Frontline health workers use mobile tech to advance healthcare in Nigeria – and here’s the data to prove it

Feb 9, 2016

Qualcomm products mentioned within this post are offered by Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries.

Mrs. Williams is a midwife who participates in our CliniPAK360 program. A collaborative effort between Qualcomm® Wireless Reach™, Vecna Cares Charitable Trust, Vecna Technologies, InStrat Global Health Solutions, the National Primary Health Care Development Agency of Nigeria, and Etisalat the program has made definitive inroads toward decreasing Nigeria’s high maternal and infant mortality rates. To date, we’ve deployed to 51 facilities in four states throughout Nigeria and the program will reach an additional 50 Primary Health Care centers by June 2016. The CliniPAK360 software puts Android tablets in the hands of healthcare workers to capture data at the point of care and digitalize paper health records.

Nigeria suffers one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world, but this number could be lowered with timely information for diagnosis and treatment. We used to keep paper records but it was difficult to keep track of patients’ progress. Now I use a wireless Internet-connected tablet to record and retrieve patient information and greatly increase my ability to diagnose problems before they become fatal to the mother or baby. I can do this not just in the clinic, but anywhere I happen to consult a patient.

Mrs. Williams, midwife in Abuja, Nigeria

CliniPAK360 employs advanced wireless technology to assist healthcare workers in capturing key data elements during every patient encounter. The program aggregates patient data in real time and accelerates the reporting process at the facility and state level, putting actionable data in the hands of policy and decision makers in less time than the previous paper-based process. This leads to a better and more timely understanding of the health burden, improved connection between the state and local health resources, and a consistent quality of care with each patient interaction. These advantages help facilities become more efficient and make clinicians more effective, helping to drive down the number of maternal and infant deaths. But how do we really know the program is successful at working toward the new UN Sustainable Development Goals for 2030 of reducing maternal mortality and ending preventable deaths of newborns and under-five children?  

Critical to any Wireless Reach program’s success is our approach to monitoring and evaluation (M&E). It provides us with verifiable progress measures that show how the programs we invest in are providing benefit to their communities. Specifically, we monitor output indicators to track what happens as a result of the program’s activities.

In respect to CliniPAK360, one output indicator we monitor is the average number of data uploads per week by the midwives to ensure facility compliance with record keeping protocols. Midwives in the 51 facilities are completing, on average, nearly 1,400 per week as of January 2016. Additionally, we look at the number of patients who come to the facilities for their first antenatal care (ANC) visit and return for a follow-up visit to track the impact on maternal health. As of January 2016, almost 40% of women had received at least two ANC visits. Finally, the program tracks the cumulative number of surveys collected and unique patient records to monitor adoption, use, and consistent data capture. The program has resulted in over 116,000 clinical surveys being collected representing nearly 115,000 patient records captured. This indicates that the tool is being used appropriately and effectively. Our M&E approach allows us to witness first-hand the success of the program and how it has been able to scale nationally.

The immediate availability of up-to-date medical data means clinicians, midwives, and administrators are able to make informed, timely decisions that have life-saving potential. In fact, the technology and health providers are so agile and effective that program stakeholders launched an Ebola Disease Outbreak Preparedness and Surveillance Project using the CliniPAK360 platform to screen and treat Ebola patients during the time of utmost crisis. It continues to be key in Ebola prevention in Nigeria. The Wireless Reach M&E process has helped us verify progress for all stakeholders and further the advancement of healthcare in Nigeria in ways we could never have imagined.