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The use of low-cost ruggedized Android tablets to augment in-service training of community health workers in Mukono, Uganda: perspectives and lessons learned from the field

Christina E Stiles
Edward O’Neil Jr
Kenneth Kabali
James O’Donovan


Background: Despite potential for community health workers (CHWs) to effectively reduce morbidity and mortality in sub-Saharan Africa, they still face multiple barriers including access to on-going and refresher training. Digital technology offers a potential solution to improve the provision of ongoing training for CHWs.

Objectives: This report shares participant insights and experiences following the implementation of a mobile health (mHealth) assisted Integrated Community Case Management (iCCM) refresher training programme for CHWs in Mukono, Uganda. We seek to document benefits and challenges of such an approach.

Methods: CHWs were trained to recognize, treat and prevent childhood pneumonia via locally made videos preloaded onto low cost, ruggedized Android tablets. Subsequent interviews were compiled with key stakeholders including CHWs, CHW leaders and programme supervisors to better understand the strengths, barriers and lessons learned following the interven- tion.

Results: Success factors included the establishment of CHW leadership structures, the ability to use the tablets to learn on an “any pace, any place” basis and using the tablets to conduct community teaching and outreach. Barriers included appro- priate consideration of the implementation timeline and avoiding a “one size fits all” approach to digital literacy training.

Conclusions: The strength of the program stemmed from a grassroots approach that prioritized stakeholder input at all stages. Leadership at a local level, a history of local engagement and trust built up over a period time were also integral. As organizations aim to scale up digitally enhanced training initiatives, it is paramount that attention is paid to these human factors which are key for program success.

Keywords: Low-cost ruggedized Android tablets; in-service training; community health workers; Mukono.

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1729-0503
print ISSN: 1680-6905