The Ebola outbreak that began in 2014 in West Africa is the largest in history. While Sierra Leone was declared Ebola-free on on November 7, 2015, the country remains vulnerable to new infections and to public health issues exacerbated by—and largely neglected during—the height of the Ebola crisis. The virus infected over 14,000 in Liberia, and killed almost 4,000 before it was eradicated. Among the dead were 221 members of Liberia's health workforce.
To help the country respond to and recover from the epidemic, IntraHealth has teamed up with UNICEF and other partners to implement mHero, a free mobile phone-based system that connects health workers to health officials, to each other, and to critical information that can save lives, using the basic mobile phones that most health workers already have.
The platform facilitates two-way communication using SMS messages and interactive voice response—and gets critical information to frontline health workers in real time. Initially launched to address the Ebola crisis, mHero offers ministries of health and health workers a trusted channel of information on a broad range of health services, including primary care, maternal and child health, family planning, HIV, malaria, and nutrition.
Two-way communication between health workers and health officials can help bring epidemics such as Ebola under control, protect health workers and their communities, and curb future outbreaks, all while strengthening ongoing communication among the different levels of the health system.
IntraHealth is working with officials in Sierra Leone to:
Introduce mHero, in partnership with UNICEF, to establish a robust communications mechanism between frontline health workers and the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, allowing health workers to stay informed and the ministry to make more informed decisions.
Collaborate with the World Health Organization to help the ministry expand the national health worker database (iHRIS), which is a foundational component of mHero.
Build informatics capacity within the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, including building the interoperability of different health information systems, such as iHRIS, mHero, and DHIS 2.