Guest blogger Lesley-Anne Long is Global Director of mPowering Frontline Health Workers. She provides strategic leadership to mPowering and coordinates across mHealth, maternal and child health advisors, program implementers, government officials, private sector, NGOs and others focusing on sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. The views expressed are the author’s own, and do not necessarily represent the views of Qualcomm.
Recently, a reception was held in Washington D.C. to commemorate the one-year anniversary of ORB, an mHealth content platform created by mPowering for frontline health workers.
Angela Baker, Director of Qualcomm Wireless Reach, welcomed an audience of attendees from U.S. government and international agencies, non-profits, social enterprises, and academics.
As the Global Health Director of mPowering Frontline Health Workers, I am proud of how far we have come in just one year.
mPowering, a partnership of private sector, government, donors, and program implementers created ORB to help governments, training institutions, NGOs and health workers access high quality training resources quickly, wherever they are in the world. As a core part of mPowering’s new comprehensive training approach, ORB’s content is helping health workers gain critical knowledge and skills to improve the quality of care they provide to their communities.
Partnering with mPowering frontline health workers
At the reception, Baker talked about Wireless Reach’s goal to create sustainable, advanced wireless programs that strengthen economic and social development across multiple sectors. She described the importance of strategic and effective collaborations such as the one Wireless Reach has with mPowering.
As a founding member of mPowering, Wireless Reach has contributed to mPowering’s goal of ending preventable maternal and child deaths by harnessing the power of mobile technologies. As ORB celebrated its first birthday, Dr. Ariel Pablos-Mendez, Assistant Administrator for Global Health and the Child & Maternal Survival Coordinator at the Bureau of Global Health at USAID, reminded us of the potential that frontline health workers have to save lives. Pablos-Mendez emphasized the critical importance of quality training, support and mentorship for health workers, and commended the mPowering partnership for its work in creating ORB as an accessible library for frontline health workers everywhere.
At the event, one of mPowering’s partners, Global Health Media Project shared a story about a new mother in Pakistan. A health worker showed the mother a video from ORB about danger signs in newborns. This enabled the mother to recognize similar signs in her own baby a few days later and bring her to a health worker in time for life-saving treatment.
We also heard from Instrat Global Health Solutions about how the maternal health training program created by mPowering and partners (Medical Aid Films and Digital Campus) for frontline health workers in Ondo State, Nigeria, has been enthusiastically received by the Ministry of Health, with plans to scale the program up to 540 health facilities over the coming year.
What’s next for ORB?
Over the last 12 months, ORB has grown. The platform now hosts more than 300 resources, some in multiple languages, covering critical maternal, newborn and child health topics. mPowering and its partners will continue to grow this library, as well as add content in new topic areas such as Zika, water and sanitation, and mental health and well-being.
Increasingly, mPowering is working with governments and international partners to use ORB and other mobile technologies to deliver a more holistic and scalable approach to frontline health worker training.
The collaboration with Wireless Reach affords mPowering the opportunity to demonstrate how mobile health technologies can, ultimately be a force for social good at scale. ORB is an incredibly effective channel for disseminating critical health knowledge at scale, and a powerful tool for achieving the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.
We see ORB as a vital innovation, not just for community health workers to reduce the number of maternal and child deaths, but also to improve people’s lives globally. Working with Wireless Reach, we believe we can extend ORB’s reach to support hundreds of thousands of frontline health workers across the world.