Living Goods + Last Mile Health
Living Goods (LG) and Last Mile Health (LMH) are using technology to extend healthcare to all. By deploying 50,000 digitally-empowered community health workers (CHWs) to provide quality care across six countries in East and West Africa, they aim to permanently and radically transform community health systems and the delivery of care through digital technology, as well as increase workers’ reach, effectiveness and ability to earn a living.
Main photo caption: A Ministry of Health enhanced COVID-19 surveillance site in Monrovia, Liberia supported by Last Mile Health and a coalition of partners. / Last Mile Health
Living Goods and Last Mile Health have trained and equipped 15,600 CHWs, who are now serving nine million people across Kenya, Uganda, Liberia and Malawi.
Amid the unprecedented challenges posed by COVID-19, Living Goods and Last Mile Health mobilized $6 million from the Audacious community to train more than 12,200 frontline health workers in COVID-19 prevention, contact tracing and reporting, and deliver over four million pieces of PPE to protect CHWs on the job.
In Kenya and Uganda, Living Goods and Last Mile Health’s work to classify CHWs as “essential workers’’ has resulted in more than 560,000 children being treated since May. This represents a 40 percent increase in performance on routine health assessments and treatments, at a time when access to routine healthcare has dropped.
Last Mile Health’s Community Health Academy — which provides leadership and clinical training in support of high-quality community health systems — has engaged 29,000 learners globally. The Academy is also supporting the Ministries of Health in Liberia, Ethiopia and Uganda to provide primary care and COVID-19 training to more than 5,000 health workers.
A Community Response to COVID-19
Sahr Joseph Nyuma works for Last Mile Health as a County Manager in Rivercess County, Liberia — one of the country’s most remote regions. He shares updates on the COVID-19 response there.
What is your team doing to prepare for and respond to COVID-19?
The Rivercess County Health team [with support from Last Mile Health] has trained all health facility staff — including clinicians and non-LIVING GOODS + LAST MILE HEALTH clinical staff like pharmaceutical dispensary workers and hospital cleaners — in infection prevention and control, and provided personal protective equipment to make our health facilities a safe place where patients can go to access health services [despite the outbreak]. We are also training all community health workers to educate their communities on the signs and symptoms of COVID-19, dispel myths linking COVID-19 to Ebola, encourage community-based risk mitigation measures like social distancing, hand washing and mask use, and refer any suspected cases for treatment. With all of the measures we’ve put in place, we are very hopeful that,
between the adherence of health workers to infection prevention and control practices and the trust we have gained from the community, Rivercess will remain virus-free.
Why is it important to include community health workers in the COVID-19 response?
Health and other social problems are rooted in the community, and community health workers are part of the community: they understand the terrain, they understand cultural practices and they were selected by their neighbors to serve. So, when a person who is part of the community is telling a community member to follow certain
health measures, there is a level of trust that can’t be replicated.
How has the public’s perception of COVID-19 changed?
Back in March, it was difficult to get people to adhere to precautionary measures like handwashing and social distancing. Nowadays, everyone is following these recommendations. People are willing to wash their hands, to use masks in public, to social distance. The adherence from the public has been great.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored how critical digitally-empowered community health workers are for maintaining access to essential reproductive and child health services in a time of crisis. The catalytic support we received from Audacious partners enabled us to quickly pivot and adjust service delivery to continue saving and improving lives, while ensuring health workers stay safe and supporting governments to effectively respond.”
Last Mile Health frontline staff like Sahr Joseph Nyuma help support ministries of health to train and equip community health workers to safely provide essential primary healthcare in remote communities. / Last Mile Health