International public health organisation, Amref Health Africa, is expanding its mHealth training programme, Health Enablement and Learning Platform (HELP), to reach 3,000 community health workers in Kenya.

The not-for-profit organisation has received a $3 million grant from global technology services company, Accenture, and the Accenture Foundations. The M-PESA Foundation has also provided $1.5 million in funding.

The two-year grant, which is part of Accenture’s Skills to Succeed initiative, will enable Amref Health Africa to expand HELP, an mHealth learning platform that trains and supports community health workers in areas of Malaria, TB and other life threatening communicable diseases. The organisations involved believe such an mHealth initiative has the potential to improve healthcare services across Africa.

Piloted in 2013, HELP was developed in partnership with Vodacom-Mezzanine’s Helium platform and Safaricom, a Vodafone affiliate in Kenya. HELP builds on Vodafone’s mHealth portfolio which, developed with its network of global partnerships, increases access to healthcare services through its customer reach and scalable mHealth solutions.

“Through this collaborative partnership, we are leveraging technology and delivering measurable solutions that will make a profound impact across sub-Saharan Africa,” said Managing Director, Global Corporate Citizenship at Accenture, Jill Huntley.

“By harnessing the power of mobile, Amref Health Africa is delivering job and medical skills training at speed and scale – a critical component in improving the health as well as the long-term economic sustainability of communities in Africa,” continued Huntley.

On HELP’s expansion, Interim CEO at Amref Health Africa, Dr Lennie Bazira Igbodipe-Kyomuhangi, said: “African countries are facing a severe shortage of healthcare workers who are able to provide support for communities in need. Providing in-depth, high-quality skills training via mobile devices will help develop the capacity and confidence of community health workers.”

“By working together to scale HELP, we will support more community health workers with ongoing training, supervision and defined career paths that, in turn, benefit the health of their communities,” continued Igbodipe-Kyomuhangi.

On the partnership, M-PESA Foundation Executive Director, Les Baillie, said: “Through this cross-sector partnership, we will further increase the number of healthcare workers to deliver the health services needed to support their communities. We’re actively building the foundation for a long-term, scalable and sustainable solution that will improve the lives of many people in Kenya, and ultimately, across Africa.”

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