Since 2003, TulaHealth has remained committed to its mission of implementing innovative strategies to improve health, reduce poverty, and build social justice and equity in marginalized communities around the world. Our leadership in the field of global health is reflected not only in our success supporting rural primary health workers in Guatemala, but also the broad public-private partnerships that we’ve established both in Canada and abroad. TulaHealth is dedicated to working with the Ministry of Health in Guatemala to strengthen the capacity of primary health workers, so that they may provide more culturally appropriate and better quality services in their home communities. This is a process of strengthening both the capacity of individuals from marginalized communities, including indigenous women, as well as the health system that services these communities. As a result, we continue to see corresponding improvement in health indicators, particularly concerning maternal, newborn, and child health, which is of course the yardstick by which our initiatives must ultimately be measured.
Distance Education for Primary Health Training
- Between 2005 and 2020, more than 15,000 primary health workers have graduated distance education programs focusing on primary health training needs. Graduates include community health workers employed by the Ministry of Health in Guatemala, working primarily in rural communities.
- Since 2005, 112 distance education sites have been established in the four target regions; each equipped with Internet-based distance education equipment and trained technical staff. Approximately 800 health trainers have been trained on the methodologies of Internet-based distance education and problem-based learning.
- Regional health authorities independently develop distance education training programs focusing on unique regional training needs, signaling an increased confidence in distance education strategies.
Community Digital Health System
- In 2008, as frontline capacity began to be realized, we initiated work to support primary health workers in the field, and to get them integrated with the rest of the formal system. We used technology to foster a cohesive and capable rural health system, using smartphones and digital applications for communication, referrals and response.
- Since 2016, more than 4,700 primary health workers in four regions have been trained and equipped with a smartphone-based digital health system. Preferential rates for telecommunication services and technical support are provided by our partners at Tigo Foundation.
- Primary health workers have used the digital health system to make more than 450,000 telephone calls, relating to patient follow-up, clinical consultation, and emergency transportation. Primary health workers also use SMS and WhatsApp extensively to support communication and coordination.
- Primary health workers have used the community digital health system to register more than 30,000 pregnancy cases to monitor their progression, including 6,000 adolescent pregnancies, and more than 131,000 malnourished children.
- Health education and promotion videos - which have been translated in more than 8 Mayan languages - have been watched by more than 60,000 patients using the digital health system. Health education and promotion videos focus on priority topics selected in coordination with the Ministry of Health, including maternal, newborn, and child health, sexual and reproductive health, gender-based violence, and child malnutrition.
- Community-level health data is transferred via the digital health system to online health monitoring dashboards in less than 24 hours.
- Since 2016, approximately 4,800 health officials, and community health workers have been trained to access community-level health information for decision-making via the online digital health system dashboard. Approximately 78 percent of users indicated that they regularly use the digital health system to conduct public health surveillance, monitor high-risk patients, and coordinate transfer of high-risk patients.