In 2019, USAID/Malawi engaged Data.FI to work closely with Partners in Hope (PIH) and Baylor, two USAID- and PEPFAR-supported implementing partners (IPs), to improve their use of the national HIV electronic medical record system (EMRS) and the data it generates. Data.FI has focused its efforts to strengthen EMRS use on hands-on capacity building, using a highly collaborative approach ― providing fit-to-purpose training materials, training of trainers sessions, and facility-based hands-on mentorship sessions.
Today, through Data.FI’s collaboration, mentorship, and by other initiatives implemented by Baylor and PIH, the two IPs have been able to achieve the following:
“We are now able to understand, for example, how many people are currently on ART and then, in the last quarter, how many may have dropped out of care,” says Mtambalika. “We can then look at ways we can improve, whether this be in addressing issues in the clinic or better follow-up of these clients immediately after they default.”
The Data.FI team continues its work ‘on the ground’ to support the IPs in their efforts to institutionalize use of EMRs at the facility level.
In the past 24 months, despite limited resources, PIH and Baylor have strengthened their eHealth human resources and made available resources to build the capacity of the teams. Collaborative engagement, consistent communication, a commitment to capacity building, and tailored training can make a verifiable difference to strengthen the quality and use of HIV data―and thereby improve the health of people living with HIV in Malawi.