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 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.
Community health workers in rural areas face an information deficit.
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
- Primary infectious disease management
- Patient education
- Pre- and post-partum care
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)
The Critical Healthcare Information Integration Network (CHIIN) is a free-for-use automated SMS messaging system that synthesizes validated medical information on context-relevant conditions and best practices into digestible text messages to community health workers practicing in rural settings.
CHIIN is a bridge between disconnected providers and dependable information.
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 information into appropriate categories and store it via Cloud Firestore, a cloud-hosted NoSQL database, which the chatbot interacts with when a user makes an information request. Users have the ability to search directly for information on specific chronic and infectious disease conditions, in addition to using an AI-powered symptom checker tool to retrieve a differential diagnosis for a patient with an unknown illness.
Work with our partners closely informs platform strategy and design decisions.
I learned from CHIIN a lot, I will become an agent of change in my health facility because of what I gain from CHIIN.
[I use] SOP and internet, but the internet is not always good. While in the clinic, I need to buy time and find a good place with a network to google. This leads to medical delay - sometimes delays of 30 minutes to 1 hour can result in the death of a patient.
CHIIN has helped me in prescription of correct drugs and their doze [sic], make a systematic treatment of illness in accordance, provide an optimum learning ground and sharing of ideas.”
Sometimes, he would need quick information when the patient is there, but cannot because of lack of data or even the network itself is not reliable. Then he has to delay the patient to provide information; he would just give analgesics and delay antibiotic prescriptions.
Using CHIIN is faster during consultation and is the best.
Community Health Workers served
Years of experience on average
A well-balanced, committed core team
Sope EwejeManaging Director
Sayo EwejeManaging Director
Ebube ChubaTechnical Director
Busola OlukoyaDirector of Operations
Esias BedingarData Analyst
Ebube OgbuaguMedical Officer
A community of medical student volunteers from around the country
Nneoma OkonkwoMaternal Health Specialist
Maryclare ChinedoSocial Media Manager
Catherine YangMaternal Health Specialist
Derrick LewisClinical Data Specialist
Chigozie AmonuSocial Media Manager
Faven RussomClinical Data Specialist
Nadia AndersonMaternal Health Specialist
Tema FodjeMaternal Health Specialist
Tope Elutilo-AyoolaClinical Data Specialist
Constance NyaunuClinical Data Specialist
Sofiat AtobaClinical Data Specialist
Sola AderonmuMaternal Health Specialist
Our advisors bring years of combined expertise in working to bring mobile health technology interventions to primary healthcare settings around the world.
Muge Haseki, PhDPSOM Center for Global Health mHealth Research
Nestor Inimgba, MDFounder, Infodemics Anesthetist, Kettering General Hospital, England
Muhammad Saddiq, RNFounder, Rural Health Mission Nigeria Senior Nursing Officer, Federal Teaching Hospital Gombe
Rebekah Emmanuel, MBAHead of Social Entrepreneurship, Harvard i-Labs CHWs and Rural Health
CHIIN has raised tens of thousands of dollars to further its mission, from backers including the Venture Lab of the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School, the MIT IDEAS Social Innovation Challenge, and the Harvard Innovation Lab. A combination of funding and mentorship from these supporters has been crucial to our progress.