Community Health Toolkit

SMS & Messaging-Based COVID-19 Digital Education for CHWs

Over the past few weeks, our team of volunteers at Medic Mobile, including volunteers from Stanford’s Digital Medic team, worked on a digital education curriculum to support the training of CHWs on COVID-19 material via the CHT. You can find the forum post of that effort here. However, we saw a growing need to support community health workers who either don’t have access to a smartphone or the CHT app, or don’t have access to a reliable / affordable internet connection. By focusing on just the CHT app, we would have missed a significant portion of health care workers without the aforementioned access to a smartphone/data. This need arose from an ongoing implementation in Mali, but can of course be expanded to be implemented in other hardest-to-reach communities.

Our goal is still the same: to enable CHWs to rapidly consume engaging educational content with the most accurate and latest information on all aspects of the coronavirus. But, it has been expanded to ensure we reach all CHWs in a community, regardless of technology access or infrastructure.

The incredible team at Stanford’s Digital Medic took the content that had been previously created for the CHT, and transformed it such that it is now more concise, in order to aim to abide by the 160 character message limit, while also remaining engaging through the use of learning quizzes and branching logic where the CHW can be prompted with a question and reply via a message.

The content has been placed into this spreadsheet where it can be easily distilled and has been transformed and adapted for 4 channels: 1) SMS 2) Messaging apps 3) IVR 4) USSD. Our reference application focuses on the first two channels: SMS & messaging apps.

Content centers around 3 learning objectives/flows which can be found on each tab of the above spreadsheet.

  1. Effective hand management hygiene practices to help prevent infection and slow the spread of COVID-19
  2. Debunking myths to help prevent the dissemination of misinformation about COVID-19
  3. How to recognize care for patients with COVID-19

We are posting the message-based digital education content for the three modules to get feedback and improve the approach and content. We’ve also prepared comprehensive documentation, demo videos, and a reference application utilizing RapidPro and Telegram.

Kindly review our:

  1. Documentation (includes background/summary, objectives, information about the content, information about the reference implementation, and considerations regarding the content and adapting the content)
  2. Demo videos (for the reference implementation)
  3. Message content spreadsheet (contains the content for each of the 3 learning modules across all 4 channels)

We are still working on improving the messages in the 4 channels, but we wanted to get this out as soon as possible to garner feedback while we iterate :).

We really appreciate your feedback and input on any part of this application! Thank you! :slight_smile:


Thank you for this post, and for your incredible work on this project @sabinasobhani! It’s amazing to see what the team has accomplished so far!

Awesome work! Are you planning to translate the content for any other languages in near future?