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Digitally-empowering community health workers in Uganda

Living Goods is a Uganda-based social enterprise with a mission to ensure that every family has the health they need to thrive, not just survive.

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In a nutshell

Living Goods is a Uganda-based social enterprise with a mission to ensure that every family has the health they need to thrive, not just survive. Living Goods is living up to this mission by fully equipping community health workers with digital tools to provide basic health services.

 

The organization was one of five social enterprises to receive a Social Innovation Ecosystem Award from the Bayer Foundation. The award has enabled the scaling up of a unique app which – thanks to its unique algorithms – is able to provide tailored counselling, treatment advice or referral recommendations for community health workers. Thanks to this partnership, around 375 Community Health Workers – who provide maternal, neonatal and family planning services – are able to reach around 300,000 people.

 

We had the opportunity to speak to Emilie Chambert, Country Director of Living Goods in Uganda, who received a Social Innovation Ecosystem Award from Bayer Foundation to help implement a digital program to empower women community health workers.

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Digitally-empowering community health workers in Uganda

Interview with Living Goods country director for Uganda Emilie Chambert

By Christien van den Brink

 

How did you link up with the Bayer Foundation?

Emilie: Our CEO Liz Jarman met with the Bayer Foundation during Skoll Conference in 2019 in Oxford, England. They felt a connection immediately. The Bayer foundation was interested in our innovative model and liked how we work with the entire ecosystem of government, the community and other organizations. We put a special focus on serving women. As a result of the initial contact, we co-designed a program together with the idea to have real transformative impact. We received an award from the Bayer Foundation in September 2019 at the Social Innovation Day. We kicked off the project beginning of January.

 

Can you tell us more about the program that is supported by the Bayer Foundation?

Emilie: Initially Living Goods focused on maternal and child health. We soon realized that the structure we put in place, with the fully equipped, fully empowered community health workers (CHWs) can do more; especially if they are digitally empowered. In 2018, we had already started to pilot a family planning service. The partnership with Bayer will enable us to expand this pilot. Nearly 400 CHWs will be able to serve more than 10,000 pregnant women. The innovative element is that we can integrate this additional service into the app that we already use. We will also make sure that we use a performance- based approach. CHWs will receive income based on their performance.

“The partnership with Bayer will enable us to expand this pilot. Nearly 400 CHWs will be able to serve more than 10,000 pregnant women.”

Emilie Chambert, Country Director of Living Goods in Uganda

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Why is this program needed in Uganda?

Emilie: In Uganda, there are many communities that are excluded from basic health services, because they live in remote areas. Community health workers who are from that area - and who are well known by everyone there - can really bring these needed services to their doorstep. This is somebody people trust, somebody who is well-equipped, who can support them, counsel them on basic health problems or refer them to governmental health facilities a bit further away.

 

What is the win-win of this partnership between Living Goods and the Bayer Foundations? 

Emilie: There has been great collaboration to design a program that will have great impact. I can see how the work through the ecosystem of organizations that Bayer is supporting, is going to benefit us. But also, their network of researchers will help us to improve our services.

 

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