If left untreated, Sabrina’s condition could have been fatal; but, thanks to her interactions with Mashaka through the digital community health program, Sabrina delivered in a hospital with skilled care for the first time in her life. When she returned home, she held her healthy baby boy—along with his official birth certificate, a first in her family.
What sets Jamii ni Afya apart?
- From the outset, stakeholders (including beneficiaries, CHWs, and various technical and managerial government staff) have been actively involved in designing and developing program structure, content, and digital tools as part of Jamii ni Afya’s Human-Centered Design approach.
- Jamii ni Afya will bring quality health services to every household in Zanzibar in all 11 districts. That’s 1.6 million people who will have access to efficient, high-quality care.
- Supported services extend beyond antenatal care and include long-term care for everyone in the household, maternal and newborn health services, and essential child services such as nutrition, immunizations, WASH (Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene) and early childhood development, while making space for additional functionalities in the future as other priorities emerge.
- Jamii ni Afya is fully integrated into the health system structure, meaning that it supports not only CHWs, but also their health facility-based supervisors and the district- and national-level managers.
LESSON 3: Build to last
Over the years, countless studies have pointed to the considerable disconnect in the progression from digital system development, to government adoption, to acceptance and sustainability. At D-tree, we understand that involving the government from the outset of the design phase and building capacity for them to lead is a key factor in bridging these divides; and that designing sustainable digital systems means gradually setting the stage for ownership. This often results in a longer timeline than originally envisioned, but leads to increased ownership and long-term impact.
In Zanzibar, the Ministry of Health and district Council Health Management Teams have been critical to program planning, strategy, implementation, and continued monitoring and management. By engaging in co-creation and co-implementation of Jamii ni Afya, the government is gaining firsthand experience in managing the program, taking the lead in scaling the program, and embraces its ownership as part of the government health system.