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Sierra Leone Successfully Tests mHero

| By Emily Nicholson

Sierra Leone has successfully tested the mHero platform. The Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MOHS) sent a health worker validation message to more than 8,000 health workers across the country. Much like the mHero pilot test in Liberia, the initial messages sent were designed to confirm health worker information, which can be used to update iHRIS, the human resources information system used by the MOHS.

The response from health workers to the SMS was tremendous, with 2,181 individuals responding to the first question in the sequence, which asked them to confirm whether they were MOHS employees. Responses were received from health workers in each of Sierra Leone’s 14 districts, indicating that the platform has the ability to reach health workers throughout the entire country.

This successful pilot demonstrated that mHero has potential to be used in Sierra Leone to improve communication between the MOHS and health workers, especially as the country rebuilds post-Ebola. IntraHealth International and the World Health Organization will collaborate with the MOHS to support an Interoperability Academy, which will feature health information systems such as mHero and highlight their ability to strengthen the country’s health information system. The Interoperability Academy is scheduled for the first week of August.

mHero is a two-way, mobile-phone-based communications system that uses basic text messaging, or SMS, to connect Ministries of Health and health workers. This communication platform—developed initially as part of the global response to Ebola Virus Disease—can reduce the communication barriers that sometimes exist between health workers and their support systems.

By facilitating strong two-way communication, Ministries of Health using mHero benefit from the rapid interaction with health workers, many of whom live in remote and hard-to-reach places. This connection allows decision makers within the MOH real time access to important information that can be used to support health workers and improve health services.

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