The Problem

Community health workers (CHWs) play a crucial role in sustaining health systems in Africa, as the first point of entry to the health system for millions of Africans in rural and underdeveloped areas. CHWs are trained members of the community that hold responsibilities such as performing health screenings, immunizations, primary infectious disease management, patient education, pre- and post-partum care, and more.

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of ensuring that these frontline workers are adequately trained and equipped with accurate medical reference information to guide their interactions with patients in the community. But while access to medical references among health workers has been shown to improve outcomes, on-demand access to medical references for CHWs is limited due to poor internet usage penetration on the continent.

SIM and internet penetration in Africa by 2025. Source: Global System for Mobile Communications Association (2019)

Our Solution

The Critical Healthcare Information Integration Network (CHIIN) is a free-for-use SMS messaging system that provides validated medical information on the causes, presentation, management, and associated complications of context-relevant diseases to community health workers practicing in rural settings.

Our team synthesizes materials from well-respected online medical reference sources (e.g. Mayo Clinic disease guides, CDC and WHO) into digestible text messages to be sent to offline community health workers. Users register and interact with a SMS chatbot powered by Twilio, a cloud communications platform that enables developers to programmatically make and receive text messages.

We parse the disease information into four key categories - causes, presentation, management, and complications - and store it via Cloud Firestore, a cloud-hosted NoSQL database, which the chatbot will interact with when a user makes an information request. The disease database will be specifically expanded based on direction from private and public clinical collaborators, who will also serve as an accredited source for validation.

Our Partners

Rural Health Mission Nigeria (RHEMN) is an NGO based in Gombe State, Nigeria focused on supporting rural healthcare workers with training and material resources to improve care delivery. CHIIN has partnered with RHEMN to run a pilot involving 200 community healthworkers who have been trained and onboard onto our platform! All participants took a baseline survey via the CHIIN platform designed to assess the current practice of community health workers and how they access medical reference information before the introduction of CHIIN. We are excited about this first milestone and will closely follow feedback from our first users to improve the platform.

Our Team

Jane

Ebube Chuba

Technical Director

Jane

Sope Eweje

Managing Director

Jane

Sayo Eweje

Managing Director

Jane

Olubusola Olukoya

External Relations Coordinator

Jane

Ebube Ogbuagu

Medical Officer

Jane

Nneoma Okonkwo

Maternal Health Specialist

Jane

Onu Udoh

Clinical Data Specialist

Jane

Maryclare Chinedo

Clinical Data Specialist, Social Media Manager

Jane

Catherine Yang

Maternal Health Specialist

Jane

Derrick Lewis

Clinical Data Specialist

Jane

Chigozie Amonu

Clinical Data Specialist, Social Media Manager

Jane

Esias Bedingar

Data Analyst

Jane

Chinazom Okafor

Consultant

Jane

Faven Russom

Clinical Data Specialist

Jane

Nadia Anderson

Maternal Health Specialist

Jane

Tema Fodje

Maternal Health Specialist

Jane

Tope Elutilo-Ayoola

Clinical Data Specialist

Jane

Constance Nyaunu

Clinical Data Specialist

Jane

Sofiat Atoba

Clinical Data Specialist

Jane

Sola Aderonmu

Maternal Health Specialist

Supported by

Medlenna is a startup incubator and entrepreneurship development platform that seeks to improve health, lifestyle, entrepreneurship and community through advanced technology applications and development.

CHIIN was named one of the winners of the "Empowering the Health Workforce" track at the MIT COVID 19 Challenge: Africa Takes on COVID-19.

CHIIN was named the Michael Seres overall award winner at the GIANT Health BEANSTALKS pitch competition.

CHIIN was a participant in the Africa COVID-19 challenge hosted by the Zicklin Center for Business Ethics Research at the Wharton School.

CHIIN was named the student winner of the 2021 Massachusetts Medical Society Information Technology Award Competition.