In July 2010, I had the honor of traveling to Kenya to meet with the Kilifi Kids team there and work on developing our mobile health care – or mHealth – pilot project. During our stay in Kilifi, we spent many days meeting in the town, where I met the amazing volunteer team from the Kilifi Rotary Club as well as the staff at the District Hospital that will be so central to the pilot project.
This set the stage for an even more impactful moment – traveling to the countryside to visit local dispensaries, meet with Community Health Extension Workers (CHEWs) and attend Community Health Worker (CHW) meetings.
There it became clear how mobile health technology could improve service quality and timeliness across the homesteads comprising the many rural villages outside the town of Kilifi. Infrastructure challenges, namely transportation, sanitation, communication, and roads collectively limit CHW’s ability to reach families and gather the information. The current paper based data collection and reporting system then adds an additional challenge to creating proactive and responsive health services in the community.
In my work at Capture Your Flag, I have been able to spend time with volunteers working with Community Health Workers. These interviews have been educational and wonderful complements to what I learn from our inspiring team on the ground in Kilifi.
This interview, with Lauren Serota from frog design, discusses the importance of first understanding culture through the eyes of a community. Only here can we truly understand the problems from a local perspective and develop solutions tailored to address them.
In another interview, I spoke with Kilifi Kids teammate Clara Williams while we were in Kilifi. Here, Clara connects puts the local, cultural context of what Lauren discusses into an information and data driven project framework.
The combination of our inspired on-the-ground Kilifi Kids team with our continued priority to develop localized solutions attuned to culture using decision-making tools and information frameworks continues to be refined and take shape. This preparation is critical, as a key challenge for our team is to harness the complexity across these areas to effectively translate them into the mobile health technology applications and associated. We will cover this more in future posts, so stay tuned!