Shifo, Gavi, MoHSW, ActionAid International The Gambia, Swedish Postcode Foundation, IKARE & af Jochnick Foundation join hands to strengthen registration, data quality and use to make vaccines work for every child
Shifo, in collaboration with Gavi (the Vaccine Alliance), the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare of The Gambia, ActionAid International The Gambia, The Swedish Postcode Foundation, IKARE Ltd and af Jochnick Foundation launch work to strengthen registration, data quality and use across The Gambia to ensure that children do not miss out on immunisation services.
Shifo Foundation, has launched “Every Child Counts The Gambia” initiative to implement MyChild Solution in the whole country. Based on Smart Paper Technology, the health information management system strengthens data quality and use in child health services. The initiative aims to help decision makers along the healthcare chain to identify and close the gaps based on reliable, relevant and timely information to improve quality of immunisation services and health outcomes. The innovation allows health workers to fill in Smart Paper Forms, which are digitised through a central scanning station.
“The Government of The Gambia has prioritised strengthening child registration and health services, improving processes and tools for health workers, and strengthening data quality for informed decision-making,” said the former Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Dr. Saffie Lowe Ceesay. “MyChild Solution has come to strengthen these three areas and it is a timely solution for The Gambia. Our goal is to register and follow up on 700,000 children under age of five years within this programme and minimise administration time for our health workers to ensure they can provide better care to the people of The Gambia. Every family will receive SMS reminders one day before their due date, which will help to improve on the timeliness for health services and increase the number of children fully immunised.”
Gavi contributes with funding and expertise to the programme. Initial funding from ActionAid International The Gambia, The Swedish Postcode Foundation, IKARE Ltd and the af Jochnick Foundation was doubled by the Dutch government via Gavi’s Matching Fund to reach a total of €1.8 million.
“One in four children worldwide do not formally exist, because their birth has not been registered,” said Dr Seth Berkley, Gavi CEO. “Innovative approaches like MyChild can help us provide every child with a digital health record, even in remote areas without electricity or internet. This is a crucial step towards protecting every child against vaccine-preventable diseases.”
“We are proud to be supporting Shifo in The Gambia. This type of innovative solution is exactly what is needed in low-resource settings to reach every last child with life-saving vaccines and will hopefully enable the Gambian government to further strengthen their immunisation activities,” said Sigrid Kaag, the Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation.
In The Gambia, Shifo is working together with all programme stakeholders to reach the joint objectives. Speaking at the inception of the programme, Omar Badji, Executive Director, ActionAid International The Gambia, said “given the potential benefits of MyChild Solution in facilitating access to preventive child health services and the fact that the solution provides high quality, relevant information from every corner of the country regardless of electricity and other infrastructural limitations, we feel that the solution is a right one to implement in The Gambia. ActionAid works to alleviate poverty, and health is an important part of that, therefore the organisation has given its unflinching commitment to work with Shifo on the programme as well as the onward scaling up of the project nationally”.
The Swedish Postcode Foundation, which has supported Shifo’s programmes in Uganda, is also part of the consortium. “We have been working with Shifo for a while and like their approach to alter their methods to ensure their programmes are sustainable and bring real time value to improve the quality of care to current and next generations. We support Shifo in achieving its vision of no child mortality or suffering from preventable diseases in Gambia and we look forward to more valuable learnings and outcomes from the project”. — Marie Dahllöf, Secretary General.
IKARE with whom Shifo has built a mutually rewarding partnership in Uganda and whose advice has been highly valued, spoke about their continued support for Shifo. IKARE’s Executive Director, Anne Holm Rannaleet, said that “it’s only by strengthening health systems and making sure we act based on the data at a facility and district level that we can know exactly which facilities are under performing and where the gaps are”. She added that IKARE is very happy to partner with Shifo in the roll-out and scaling of MyChild Solution: “as a sustainable and cost effective innovation, not only does it provide a solid base for registering all children at birth and ensuring they are immunised on a timely basis, but it also allows for systemic change and continuous quality improvement in the health sector.”
CEO of af Jochnick Foundation Kajsa Åberg said, “any scaling should be done with quality. We know that Shifo cares about the end result — that the existing health system should sustain the gains. That’s why we are proud to join the consortium and ensure we can integrate 100% of all operational processes into existing health system structure.”
Shifo Director Rustam Nabiev remarked, “In The Gambia, we will work with the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare and partners to implement MyChild Solution at a national level. Four indicators are really crucial for us — 1) enabling child registration and individual health records for more than 99% of all children, no matter where they live, 2) minimising administration work of health workers by 60% per child fully immunised, 3) ensuring data quality of electronic immunisation records is above 99% for all health service delivery points, and 4) more than 95% of health centres perform continuous actions for improving quality of immunisation service delivery, based on key performance indicators.”
Since their launch five years ago, Shifo has ensured that more than 200,000 children have been registered and received an electronic unique identification number and more than 50,000 are fully immunised. Importantly, evaluations show that the solution, which can be sustained by the governments in the partner countries, is on track to empower health workers with efficient tools to help them spend more quality time with every family and child. In 2016, Gavi selected Shifo as a pacesetter for their innovation platform, INFUSE, which scales up tried and tested innovations to improve vaccine coverage.
Notes to editors
About Shifo Foundation
Shifo Foundation is a non-profit organisation based in Sweden. Shifo’s vision is a day when no child dies or suffers from preventable diseases. Shifo develops solutions based on Smart Paper Technology to enable relevant and quality data for use to drive continuous improvement in quality of care and health outcomes for women and children during ante, intra, post-natal and child health services. Smart Paper Technology was developed to ensure the solution can be financially sustained in low and middle income countries by the governments’ existing budgets, can bring systemic change and scaled nationally in every health service delivery point regardless of infrastructural limitations such as electricity, network connectivity and security.
The problem addressed by Shifo is that disaggregated, relevant, individual, gender and location specific data is not available to ensure that key actors can identify and close the actual gaps to reach national and global goals. The key actors with whom Shifo works are Ministries of Health, UN agencies, NGOs, higher education institutions, rights based organisations, development cooperation agencies, foundations and private sector.
Four indicators are crucial for Shifo — 1) enabling registration and individual health records for more than 99% of all children and women, no matter where they live, 2) minimising administration for health workers by 60% per beneficiary, 3) ensuring data quality of electronic medical records is above 99% for all health service delivery points, and 4) more than 95% of health centres perform continuous actions to improve quality of health service delivery, based on key performance indicators. Learn more at www.shifo.org and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter & LinkedIn.
Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance is a public-private partnership committed to saving children’s lives and protecting people’s health by increasing equitable use of vaccines in lower-income countries. The Vaccine Alliance brings together developing country and donor governments, the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the World Bank, the vaccine industry, technical agencies, civil society, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and other private sector partners. Gavi uses innovative finance mechanisms, including co-financing by recipient countries, to secure sustainable funding and adequate supply of quality vaccines. Since 2000, Gavi has contributed to the immunisation of nearly 640 million children and the prevention of more than 9 million future deaths. Learn more at www.gavi.org.
Abour IKARE Ltd
IKARE Ltd (pronounced “I care”) is a venture philanthropy operated charity whose main donor is the private equity firm IK Investment Partners (formerly Industri Kapital).
At IKARE we see our role mainly as a catalyst for change, working closely together, over a number of years, with a limited number of strong social entrepreneurs in developing, testing, fine-tuning and thereby de-risking innovative models for dealing with some of the root causes of poverty. In so doing, we typically focus on strengthening both the capacity of our “investees”, as well as the local health services delivery infrastructures through local engagement and ownership for sustainable impact and systemic change. In so doing we also lay the foundations for scaling.
Having since 2006 been actively involved in the Stamp Out Sleeping sickness initiative in Uganda (www.stampoutsleepingsickness.com) providing start-up financing to a number of young veterinarians IKARE has, first-hand, experienced the need to have both a Global Health approach as well as access to reliable data for informed decision making and targeted interventions. Learn more at www.ikinvest.com/IKARE
About ActionAid International The Gambia
ActionAid International The Gambia (AAITG) is an associate member of the ActionAid International Federation which is a global movement of people working to further human rights for all and defeat poverty. AAITG’s vision is a a just, equitable and sustainable world in which every person enjoys the right to a life of dignity, freedom from poverty and all forms of oppression. AAITG believes that it is only through sustained actions by people who are directly affected by poverty, inequality and injustice at household, community and national levels that a Gambia which embraces equity and progress for all genders where, social-justice, and poverty eradication can be achieved.
The Swedish Postcode Foundation aims to promote positive social impact and seeks long-term solutions to local and global challenges. The Foundation works universally to support projects that promote human rights, nature and environment, arts and culture, and sports. This variation creates a dynamic collection of multi-level actions that result in positive change and ultimately a better world. The Swedish Postcode Foundation is a beneficiary to the Swedish Postcode Lottery and since its establishment in 2007, has distributed over one billion SEK in support of more than 450 projects worldwide. For additional information, visit www.postkodstiftelsen.se/en/
About af Jochnic Foundation
The af Jochnick Foundation was established in 2004 by the af Jochnick family who wanted to contribute to the greater good and give something back to society. The purpose of the Foundation is to contribute to the greater good by supporting projects that focus on children, youth, education and world health. Foundation’s priority lies with projects that help people to self-help and give assistance to a self-start. To be closely involved in selected projects the Foundation funds projects directly & since its establishment donations of 50 984 002 EUR have been provided to a number of projects.