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 EMPOWERING COMMUNITY HEALTH WORKERS (CHWs)

Title of the project:
A Mobile-based Virtual Reality Platform for Training and Educating Community Health Workers (CHWs)

Funding Agency:
Impacting Research Innovation and Technology (IMPRINT), Ministry of Human Resource and Development (MHRD), Government of India
IBM Research Labs India

Partnering agencies:
National Health Mission-Government of India

Motivation of the project:
India has more than 1 million (2012, NRHM) CHWs providing healthcare services to communities across the country. They act as primary tool against the menace of child malnutrition, infant and maternal mortality and all other community health problems in curbing preventable diseases. Their knowledge and counseling abilities have direct impact in fighting against all community health problems [1]. However, lack of education and skilled workforce of CHWs act as a major obstacle for health-aware communities and improvised health conditions, especially in resource-scarce regions. Notable challenges in lack of skilled workforce are insufficient training, traditional, non-engaging, non-useful and ineffective methods of training and teaching, no feedback on their learning and little or no updates/trainings on new methods for healthy practices. These challenges are further amplified due to multiple responsibilities, increased workload and distant training centers. This demotivates them in improving their healthcare skills, which directly influences community health practices. Such challenges demand an immediate intervention that is accessible "anytime, anywhere", use familiar interaction methods to enhance usability, focus on hands-on training instead of just passive information dissemination and help them improve their healthcare skills in effective and engaging manner

Objectives
The overall aim is to empower CHWs through effective training and educational services, which in turn results in improved health awareness and healthy practices among community members. The objective is to create interactive training and education modules for CHWs about important health indicators, which are engaging, expressive, easy to remember and have lasting memory. It also aims to make administrators self-sufficient, so to self-create interactive training modules without any technical knowhow and support. This will result in easy and quick scalability of interactive training services across CHWs

Target users and Beneficiaries
Primary immediate beneficiary: CHWs
Primary long term beneficiary: community members
Secondary beneficiary: Ministry of Health, health administrators and policy makers

Please find the details plan here