Living Goods: Tools for Community Health Workers

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In this episode, we’re in Nairobi talking with Asif Akram, the CTO of Living Goods, about building digital tools to empower thousands of health workers to bring healthcare to their communities. We discuss how to build sustainable solutions for many varying countries, how to choose technologies to use, and how to work effectively with partners and technical vendors.

Highlights

“In Kenya and Uganda, in the rainy season it rained a lot. When health workers were traveling from house to house, the rains used to damage their health record registers… We realized we had to move to the next level.”

“One product, no matter how good it is or vast it is, it is never going to be perfect for all different scenarios. There are so many different types of countries with a different type of network support, infrastructure, education level, remoteness, urbanness. So now we are tech agnostic.”

“Our aim is that we partner with someone, do the project, depending upon the duration of the project, 2 years, 3 years. After that, we hand over that project to our partners or the local ministry, and meanwhile train them.”

If there are tools which are meeting 60% of requirements, pick that tool. Sometimes I have seen that organizations do have a temptation: let’s do it ourselves, let’s do it again… I realized many programs are doing very similar things in Bangladesh, India, Nepal, and each of them had their own tool. Then maintaining that tool, supporting it, updating it with the new technology is a cumbersome job. I felt immediately that those tools had no future.”

“If you have a solution which is either 0% or 100%, it has no future. Your solution should be much more modular, based on components. Organizations or people can enable or disable features according to their requirement.”  

Learn More

  • To learn more about Living Goods, check out their website at livinggoods.org.

Julia Neidert