Sierra Leone Becomes Third Country to Adopt mHero in Ebola Recovery

As part of Sierra Leone’s Ebola recovery and prevention efforts, IntraHealth is working with the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, UNICEF, and other partners to implement mHero, an integrated digital health platform for health worker communication and coordination. Sierra Leone will become the third country to use mHero; Liberia and Guinea have already adopted it, and Liberia’s Ministry of Health and Social Welfare even included the platform as an official strategy in its new Investment Plan for Building a Resilient Health System.

mHero is an SMS-based mHealth platform that extends and enhances existing national health information systems to get critical information to health workers throughout a country in real time via their mobile phones. IntraHealth will work with the Ministry of Health and Sanitation to roll out the mobile phone-based system, thanks to funding from the US Agency for International Development (USAID). IntraHealth was among the winners of USAID’s Ebola Grand Challenge Award for its work on mHero.

The World Health Organization declared Sierra Leone to be Ebola-free on November 7, 2015. Since the outbreak began in West Africa in March, 2014, the virus has killed 3,955 people in Sierra Leone, including 221 health workers.

In July, Sierra Leone’s president launched a two-year National Ebola Recovery Strategy to help the country regain its footing after the outbreak. mHero will aid in this effort, though the platform does more than aid in recovery—it also strengthens health systems for the long run.

“mHero and other mHealth tools let officials send and receive information, make more informed decisions, and update health workers’ training and skills from thousands of miles away,” says Pape Gaye, president and CEO of IntraHealth. “This is helping as countries recover from Ebola, but it can also help with any priority health issue a health sector is facing.”

IntraHealth will work with officials in Sierra Leone to:

  • Introduce mHero 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 (the IntraHealth-developed 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.

IntraHealth’s work in Sierra Leone is funded by USAID.

Also read: As Spirits Rise in Sierra Leone, Technology Offers More than Ebola Recovery