GBCHealth and Greenmash win COVIDaction grant for digital health system deployment

Ian MatthewsNews

Earlier this month, COVIDaction announced its Resilient Health Systems awards. GBCHealth and its partner Greenmash were one of nine winning innovations – representing just 2% of applicants – receiving financial support, technical assistance, and peer learning as part of the initiative.

GBCHealth and Greenmash, in partnership with the Sahel Women’s Empowerment and Demographic Dividend (SWEDD) project, were selected for proposed work to pilot and ultimately scale Mango in a regional effort in the Sahel. “We are excited to join the COVIDaction Resilient Health Systems portfolio of initiatives that are using innovations to help develop and support resilient and sustainable systems, which are needed now more than ever,” said Nancy Wildfeir-Field, President of GBCHealth.

Mango is a robust, flexible and scalable software platform that helps improve commodity tracking, reduce stock-outs and enhance timely data essential in managing outbreaks, treatments and health education. Mango will enable real-time reporting of data from primary health facilities on a regular basis using mobile technology. As a highly configurable software application platform it enables capture and management of data from any source to build a more comprehensive picture of healthcare activities, such as tracking outbreaks, supply chain management, delivery of vaccinations or treatments, population census and health education.

“Improving the availability and management of health commodities is vital in the strengthening of health systems. Mango will help capture, manage and share accurate data, saving time and money, and supporting informed decision-making, leading to better outcomes and improved communication,” said Andrew Wyborn, CEO of Greenmash. “Mango is particularly well-suited for low and middle-income countries and remote environments with poor communications infrastructure.”

The fragility of health systems in the Sahel requires a focus on prevention, and on increasing knowledge and access to real-time data which can help protect communities from COVID-19 and manage other health issues. Mango can be, and has been, easily integrated with many commonly used software systems in order to prevent information silos and to leverage existing health data and IT infrastructures. It has proven effective in multiple countries in capturing data from remote, challenging, and development settings, and in generating reports, charts and maps in real-time to support improved decision-making.

In partnership with the SWEDD initiative, GBCHealth and Greenmash will build and support the rollout of Mango to improve commodity tracking in the Sahel. The resulting system will be scalable to allow for enhancements in functionality and future deployments in countries across the region. The goal is to reduce stock-outs (and overstocking), allowing for efficient management of commodities by enabling submission of commodity data to the system from anywhere at any time. This will support the SWEDD program’s work in ensuring access to quality and reliable reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health (RMNCAH) products and services. Mango will also complement SWEDD’s advocacy, awareness-raising and community campaigns to further strengthen networks, information flow and access to critical commodities.

Innovative technology, networks and platforms to help support the development of digital health solutions is even more relevant today, in the context of factors related to COVID-19 such as social distancing, contact tracing and remote service delivery. GBCHealth’s partnership with Greenmash is an opportunity to address the lack of accurate real-time data. Mango is positioned to further address the need for accurate data in tracking outbreaks, supply chain management, delivery of vaccinations or treatments and health education. It can also complement other mechanisms being put in place through social media, governments and communities.

“COVID-19 has had significant impact on the health of women and girls, affecting access to contraceptives, leading to increased gender-based violence, and disrupting programs such as those targeting female genital mutilation and child marriage, so innovative solutions like Mango are needed more than ever,” added Wildfeir-Field. “As the project is being rolled out, GBCHealth will continue to engage partners and donors from the public and private sectors in order to help scale the project within countries and the region.”

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO, formerly DFID) and its partners, as part of their COVIDaction initiative, issued a call for innovations for Resilient Health Systems earlier this summer. The initiative aimed to focus attention and build a community around the maintenance of essential health services (maternal and child health, NCDs, nutrition, malaria, HIV/AIDS, TB, etc.), all facing major disruptions amid COVID-19 and all essential to maintaining decades of progress. These services are threatened by reduced access and limited utilization due to resources diverted for COVID-19, people’s hesitancy to seek care, postponement of routine and selective services, and other reasons. Applications were evaluated by a global network of 36 independent expert reviewers, who considered evaluation criteria including impact and reach, evidence of demand, readiness to deploy, implementation feasibility and more.

Describing the portfolio of nine Resilient Health Systems innovations, Magdalena Banasiak, Senior Innovation Adviser at FCDO, stated, “Building resilient health systems is a complex endeavor and necessitates working on different components of the system. The diverse innovations in this portfolio are at different maturity levels, tackling different system vulnerabilities, and facing different integration and scaling challenges. Through supporting these projects over the course of the next year, FCDO is particularly excited about the potential for global learning about scaling and integrating health innovations in a systemic way, and we’re committed to sharing our learning along the way.”

Ian MatthewsGBCHealth and Greenmash win COVIDaction grant for digital health system deployment