• Community leaders at the helm of improvement

    Tiwonge Tracy Moyo

    Chief of Party, Malawi, USAID ASSIST Project/URC

    Most organisations working with communities collaborate with government line ministries at a particular time depending on the type of activity being implemented. What I value in the Blantyre story is the pivotal role the multi-sectoral QI team is performing to improve vulnerable children’s wellbeing at the community level. All the members of the team bring some knowledge, skills and experiences to support young children to thrive in their holistic development.

  • Health Care Improvement Project’s CHW AIM Tool Strengthens Community Health Worker Programs

    Donna Bjerregaard

    Senior Technical Advisor, Initiatives Inc.

    This post originally appeared on the K4Health Blog.

    The global shortage of health workers has created cracks in the bridge to health services for Africa’s communities. Many countries and donors are looking toward community health workers (CHWs), who have a vested interest in the health of their communities, to fill the gaps.  Although CHWs have played a role in prevention and care for over 50 years, we have not had a way to evaluate whether the programs are meeting communities’ needs. We also don’t know the level of support CHWs receive to help them provide quality services. 

    A community health worker in Dhaka, Bangladesh, follows up on a child with fever

    A community health worker in Dhaka, Bangladesh, follows up on a child with fever.

    It was this thinking that led Initiatives Inc. and the USAID-funded HCI Project to develop the Community Health Worker Assessment and Improvement Matrix (CHW AIM). Through a literature review and repeated testing, 15 components of a well-functioning program emerged, ranging from recruitment and training to community involvement and country ownership. 

    We designed the process to be used by program managers, CHWs, donors, and stakeholders. Led by a facilitator, the group engages in discussions about where they stand on each programmatic component on a scale from 0 (non-functional) to 3 (highly functional or best practice). In many cases, this is the first time ideas are shared from so many different perspectives. This can lead to awareness and sometimes confrontation, but the process also creates understanding and builds team spirit and commitment to improve. The group builds an action plan for the changes needed based on the assessment. Sue England of World Vision Australia observed, “The tools make it clear to all participants that we are assuming a lot and that’s why many programs fail.”

  • Improving Essential Newborn Care in Uganda

    Annie Clark

    Senior QI Advisor MNCH, USAID ASSIST Project/URC

    In Uganda, the MoH requested that the Health Care Improvement Project (HCI) improve essential newborn care (ENC), including newborn resuscitation utilizing the Helping Babies Breathe (HBB) methodology and tools, in Luwero and Masaka districts. I was privileged to provide technical assistance to the HCI Uganda team to respond to the MoH request. 

  • Bringing Women on Board in Safe Male Circumcision in Uganda

    Jude Thaddeus Ssensamba

    Quality Improvement Officer, Uganda, USAID ASSIST Project/URC

    As part of our discussion with facility health workers during a technical support visit to eastern Uganda Nankoma Health Centre IV, Bugiri District, I asked for some experiences on cases where women have not been involved in Safe Male Circumcision. One of the health workers in the group had this experience to share:

  • The Human Experience of Supporting a Humphrey Fellow

    Emily Lanford


    Beginning on May 1, 2013, the health workforce development (HWD) unit at University Research Company (URC), LLC began its six week sponsorship of Madhavi Dwivedi, a Humphrey Fellow from India whose host was Emory University.  The objective of her work was to identify ways to strengthen the existing engagement tool that is being applied to URC’s Community Support activity in Uganda.   As a part of her work at URC, she conducted a literature review on engagement and influencing factors such as supervision and feedback.  Additionally, Madhvi identified existing M-health initiatives that are cu