What is COVIDaction Resilient Health Systems?

Chloe Lanzara
Published in
5 min readMar 3, 2021


*Your quick guide to RHS*

What are the technologies that extend the reach, coordination and continuity of health services from hospitals and clinics to communities and households?

The COVIDaction Resilient Health Systems (RHS) theme is exploring the role of technology in improving the resilience of health systems with a focus on two sub-themes:

  1. Changing the delivery models of health services to enable prevention, health promotion, health education, surveillance, and service delivery; and
  2. Improving collection and use of data to enable surveillance and continued service delivery.

Sub-theme 1 focuses on extending the reach and continuity of health service delivery from hospitals and clinics to households and communities, in addition to engaging communities and facilitating their access to data, information, and decision-making.

Sub-theme 2 aims to decrease the fragmentation of data systems, sources, and actors to enable system-level, data-driven decision making while optimising and integrating existing health information systems, digital platforms, technologies and human resources.

What are we working to achieve?

The COVIDaction Resilient Health Systems theme addresses the need for technology and innovation to support countries and their development partners to build resilient health systems as they respond to the COVID-19 crisis, and in preparation for the future.

Through financial support, technical assistance and peer learning opportunities, the COVIDaction team has partnered with 9 innovators that are working toward the resilience of health systems across Africa and in Bangladesh.

How are we funded?

COVIDaction is funded by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office (FCDO) across key thematic areas of oxygen, data, resilient health, and local production. The programme is a partnership between the UK Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office’s Frontier Technology Hub, Global Disability Innovation Hub (GDI Hub), UCL Institute of Healthcare Engineering alongside other collaborators.

What have we done so far?

We are so happy to be able to support the following organisations. It makes us proud to work with innovators who are blazing a trail, while also working under the restrictions of a pandemic.

Our portfolio of investments

Read about our 9 grantees here before learning more about the goals for their COVIDaction journey below:

  1. Concern Worldwide & Partners —Innovation: mCare and Digital Hospital. mCare’s COVIDaction grant will enable Concern Worldwide & Partners to adapt and scale the platform to include 100 new rural pharmacists and 50 urban pharmacies, serving over 50,000 patients in two districts.
  2. GBCHealth & Greenmash — Innovation: Mango. Mango’s COVIDaction grant will rollout and integrate in Burkina Faso, leveraging the mobile application platform to improve commodity tracking, reduce stock-outs, and enhance timely data essential in managing outbreaks, delivery of vaccinations or treatments, and health education.
  3. Infectious Disease Institute at Makerere University — Innovation: Digital Prevention, Care and Treatment. D-PCT is focused on integrating tech, training staff, identifying pharmacies, enrolling up to 8,000 patients, developing an anti-retroviral treatment stock management unit to improve retention in care, increased number of PLHIV with suppressed viral load, through a network of health facilities and pharmacies on the tool.
  4. Kenya Healthcare Federation & Amref Health Africa — Innovation: Wheels for Life. Wheels for Life’s COVIDaction grant will augment costs for the continuation of operations for 6 months and support Kenya Healthcare Federation with business model and sustainability planning.
  5. Living Goods — Innovation: Community Health Information System. The Community Health Information Systems (CHIS/eCHIS) will focus on the prototyping, testing and piloting of eCHIS feeding quality, timely data from community health workers up to the national level in one county in Kenya.
  6. mDoc Healthcare — Innovation: mDoc Complete Health. mDoc is receiving funds for working on technology augmentation including offline capabilities, USSD and machine learning as well as testing to strengthen the platform to provide self-care support for low-income users.
  7. MTI & Shifo Foundation — Innovation: Smart Paper Technology. Smart Paper Technology (SPT)’s grant will support MTI and Shifo Foundation in the adaptation and integration of SPT at all health facilities throughout one refugee-hosting district in Uganda.
  8. Source Code — Innovation: Pensa *660#. Pensa *660# is working to build an interface for the Ministry of Health to interact with Pena’s data for decision making, and conduct user surveys to prioritize and build additional services on their platform to provide more health information to the ‘Bottom of the Pyramid’, living in rural areas.
  9. The Vaccine Confidence Project — ASSURE. Assessing Signals and SUpporting REsilience, (ASSURE)’s COVIDaction grant will focus on large-scale data collection and analysis of COVID-19 knowledge and behaviours, map misinformation using geo-locations, forecast subnational uptake of COVID-19 vaccine, and present risk assessment to Nigeria policymakers in collaboration with the Africa CDC and African Union.
Geographical spread with boots on the ground: 5 locally owned organisations and 4 partnerships between Global North and Global South organisations

What’s on the horizon?

As COVIDaction provides financial and non-financial support to the nine RHS grantees as they implement their projects, we also recognise the opportunity for learning and generating new global knowledge and evidence. In parallel to the provision of support, the RHS Team is conducting research on key topics aligned with common challenges faced by this group of innovators, and will follow along the cohort’s COVIDaction journey to capture learning exploring the role of innovation in building the resilience of health systems. Our findings will be used to inform the broader strategy and support provided to COVIDaction grantees and be shared broadly with the global community.

We’ve listened to our innovators and are setting out on a journey to answer big questions, such as:

  • How can innovative technologies be sustainably integrated into health systems at scale to improve health system resilience?
  • What are the most important considerations and effective ways for innovators to develop a sustainable business model?
  • How can innovators ascertain demand and increase the likelihood of uptake of their technology by end users?
  • How can innovators ensure adequate data privacy and security for their end users and in accordance with local laws and regulations?
  • How should innovators adapt to COVID-19 within their local contexts?
  • How can technologies/platforms/apps be further developed and adapted to meet the needs of end users and other key stakeholders (e.g., for DHIS2 integration)?

We will continue to share what we learn along the way, so watch this space for more information and if you are on Twitter, follow @COVIDactionTech for updates.

Are you also thinking about building long term tech-enabled resilience of health systems ? Then we want to hear from you!

Email us at COVIDaction-resilience@hellobrink.co



Chloe Lanzara

Senior Program Officer, Results for Development