In Zambia, Healthy Learners, in partnership with the Zambian Ministries of Health and Education, has harnessed THINKMD’s clinical intelligence technology to reach over 106 schools and 230 000 school-aged children via 841 trained School Health Workers (SHWs).
increase in student's knowledge on health
decrease in the odds of illness
increase in vitamin A supplementation and deworming coverage
School-aged children are often overlooked in health programs, which tend to focus on under-five. There is also limited pediatric care at primary health facilities for children above five in low- and middle-income countries, while coverage of existing school health and nutrition programs is low with limited scope. Yet, the high burden of disease in school-aged children undermines their learning and development. Infectious diseases, including COVID-19, threaten to keep children out of school.
Healthy Learners is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the health of children through a model of school-based community health. Their solution is a model where teachers are trained as Community Health Workers or School Health Workers (SHWs), making schools the entry point for the healthcare system. Healthy Learners works with the Ministries of Health and Education, integrating existing physical and human resource infrastructure and systems.
Healthy Learners partnered with THINKMD in January 2019 to digitize the existing paper-based program and harness technology in order to scale, while empowering and increasing the healthcare capacity of SHWs to provide preventive healthcare and broad integrated clinical health assessments. The assessment provides automated age- and weight-specific triage, treatment and follow-up recommendations that comply with WHO guidelines. If necessary, a child undergoes a fast-track referral to a nearby health facility.
What the clinical intelligence looks like
An application for school-aged children to enable teachers to make accurate, clinical assessments, available on a mobile phone or tablet.
SHWs generate real-time, geo-tagged data with each assessment and follow-up, generating a powerful digital data set on school-aged children’s health. Aggregated data enables epidemiologic and outbreak surveillance across the Healthy Learners network of schools and communities while disaggregated data enables customized performance reports for schools and teachers.
Over 50,000 students been reached with preventative medicines, including for neglected tropical diseases such as Schistosomiasis and Helminths, and have been clinically assessed. Over 840 teachers have been trained as SHWs andiIn May 2021, Healthy Learners and the Zambian Ministry of Education launched a joint expansion plan to establish the school health program in 10 provincial capitals, achieving national coverage by 2025. Initial data shows significant impact for health and education outcomes for school aged-children.
As a mother of three, Florence knows what it is like to feel worried about a sick child. As a first grade teacher, she’s experienced firsthand the high rates of absenteeism and the impact on a child’s education if he or she is unwell, but cannot access healthcare. Read how being part of a school health program in Zambia helps her to realize a dream of healthy children who stay in school.