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At IntraHealth, we’re helping health workers lead us to a better future, by keeping them safe, supported, and ready for anything. Because the world hasn’t stopped for COVID-19. And neither will we.
IntraHealth is calling for and taking urgent action to protect frontline health workers from the on-the-job dangers posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
For 40 years, we’ve known that frontline health workers are every country's first line in detecting, reporting, and responding to emerging threats to global health security. That's why we train and equip local health workers on disease surveillance and response, infection prevention, occupational safety and health, and much more.
Here are some of the ways we're integrating virus response into our existing programs, so we can help keep communities around the world healthy and safe.
Our Digital Health team is helping governments vaccinate health workers globally with our new COVID-19 health worker vaccination modules for iHRIS and mHero. iHRIS is IntraHealth International's free, open source software that helps countries around the world track and manage their health workforce data to improve access to services. mHero is a two-way, mobile phone-based communication system that connects ministries of health and health workers.
The new iHRIS 5 allows ministries of health to adapt quickly to include COVAX attributes in health workers’ personnel records. Our legacy iHRIS 4.x systems can be easily adapted to include the same attributes. Data in both versions of iHRIS can be updated in real time via mHero as health workers are vaccinated. Health workers can text COVAX data, such as their inoculation data (date, type, location, etc.) and iHRIS can calculate when they should get additional vaccinations or when they can be considered inoculated against COVID-19, based on government protocols.
Health workers can also receive vaccination reminders via mHero and notify supply chain administrators about stock-outs.
In Central America, frontline health workers are using our COVID-19-adapted, mobile phone-based alerTAR system to let HIV clients know when, where, and how they can keep getting their antiretroviral medicines, now that public transit and many outpatient services in the region have closed. And we coordinate with central and local-level health authorities to implement differentiated models of antiretroviral delivery, adapting the services not only to reduce contact and exposure both for HIV clients and health providers, but to overcome mobilization restrictions in order to assure continued access to medication.
In Kenya, IntraHealth’s Human Resources for Health Kenya Mechanism is adapting eLearning tools and materials to train health workers—including 1,000 new health workers being recruited by the Ministry of Health to respond to COVID-19—on infection prevention, case management, mental health and psychosocial support, and much more. We’re deploying IntraHealth’s mHero communication system with the Ministry of Health to allow officials to instantly send critical information to health workers’ mobile phones, no matter where they’re stationed. And we're working with the Ministry of Health to strengthen and prepare Kenya's health system to respond COVID-19 by using existing data to predict how many health workers and hospital beds they need and where they need them.
In Liberia, the Ministry of Health is using mHero—the two-way communication platform that we and our partners developed during the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa—as a surveillance and response platform for a range of diseases, such as Lassa fever, measles, and cholera. They’re also using it to send COVID-19 messages to health workers as part of the country’s response to the pandemic.
In Rwanda, our Ingobyi Activity team is redirecting the systems and procedures we helped establish to prevent an Ebola outbreak—including a national call center, isolation units, and training for health workers on surveillance, screening, case management, and infection prevention—toward the country’s national COVID-19 response. In close partnership with the Rwanda Ministry of Health and the Rwanda Biomedical Centre, we’re preparing health workers to manage COVID cases, strengthening contact tracing, procuring supplies and medical equipment for isolation and treatment centers, and much more.
In South Sudan, our team is collaborating with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to look at the epidemic curves in affected countries, mortality trends, and the population pyramid of South Sudan to provide the government with scenario models and recommendations as it prepares for COVID-19 to strike its population.
In Tanzania, we’re working to ensure the HIV-prevention services we provide—including voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC)—remain safe and accessible during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our Tohara Plus project has shifted from conducting outreach services and campaigns—which attract large crowds—to making services available at specific static sites. We train home-based care volunteers and VMMC champions to identify interested clients in the community (safely, using infection-prevention measures and social distancing) and help book their appointments at nearby facilities, where bookings are spaced out to avoid congestion. When we first made this shift, we were providing services to around 580 men a week at 30 health facilities. Now we’re averaging 1,614 men every week at those 30 sites.
In Uganda, we’re training health workers in COVID response and working with health facilities to ensure they have the standard operating procedures and information in place to respond to clients’ needs. Our RHITES-E team has trained 320 health workers across 13 districts, including at the Malaba border, in biosafety and biosecurity, and provides testing and training in the country’s border areas. We’ve established 203 handwashing facilities and trained mentors and health workers in 15 districts on water, sanitation, hygiene, and infection prevention and control. And we work with districts every day to make sure essential services are not interrupted by COVID-19.