Updated on June 6, 2024

·

Created on August 10, 2016

mHero

mHero is a mobile phone based communication system that uses two-way, basic text messaging to connect to ministry of health and health workers.

Tested By
  • IntraHealth International
  • UNICEF
  • United States Agency International Developement (USAID)
Content Partners
Unknown

Author

Product Description

mHero is a two-way mobile phone-based communication system that uses basic text messaging or SMS to connect to ministries of health, health workers, and community health workers. This product was created to support health sector communication during the Ebola outbreak in Liberia in August 2014. Since then, the platform has been integrated by the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare into its health information system infrastructure to meet communication needs of variety of health services.

As of May 2019, this platform has been implemented in Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Tanzania

Target SDGs

SDG 3: Good Health and Well-Being

Target Users (Target Impact Group)

Household, Public Sector Agencies

Distributors / Implementing Organizations

Intrahealth International, UNICEF, World Health Organization, Jembi, Thoughtworks, International Medical Corps, PASA, John Snow International, mPowering Frontline Health Workers, Health Information Systems Program (HISP), Ministries of health in Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Sierra Leone and Tanzania

Competitive Landscape

Direct competitors include Formhub, iFormBuilder, and SurveyCTO.

Manufacturing/Building Method

mHero works by the OpenHIE standards. The platform makes use of different open source technologies: - iHRIS: Open source software for managing health workforce information, developed by IntraHealth International - DHIS 2: Developed by the Health Information System Programme at the University of Oslo.This is a web-based health management information system with visualization features - RapidPro: An open source framework designed by UNICEF to send and receive data using basic mobile phones, manage complex workflows, automate analysis, and present data in real-time - OpenHIE's InterLinked Health Worker Registry: An application developed by OpenHIE that aggregates attributes for health workers from multiple human resource information systems and can share and validate health worker information using messaging standards

Intellectural Property Type

Open-source

User Provision Model

Instructions for installation and configuration of mHero are available online.

Distributions to Date Status

22 distinct use cases have reached over 5,000 health workers in Liberia as of May 2016. Experts note that the ability for mHero to be integrated with mobile network operators suits a larger deployment. This product has also been implemented in Liberia, Mali, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Senegal and Tanzania as of May 2019.

Telecommunication service required

SMS, fixed internet

Level of connection service needed

Basic voice and SMS services and/or 2G and above

Additional features required

None

Device(s) required

Computer, mobile phone, server with at least 2.4GHZ CPU Speed/Core and 4GB of memory

Permanent network connectivity required (Y/N)

Yes

Two way communication (Y/N)

Yes

Usage rate (%)

Unknown

Literacy support (Y/N)

Yes (IVR)

Languages available

Depends on information systems used

Operating system and version

Ubuntu 14.04 or above (recommended)

Power requirements

Occasional power supply for end users and system administrators. Uninterrupted power supply for servers managing data.

eHealth application

Human resource management, decision support, data collection, stock management, disease surveillance

Design Specifications

mHero can work with any health workforce information system or communication software that is compliant with the global OpenHIE principles for health information exchange. Health officials can use mHero to: - Communicate critical messages to health workers during a crisis or emergency response - Target messages to health workers based on cadre, location, or skill set - Collect critical information that powers resilient health systems, including stock levels, routine and one-time assessments, and validation of health worker and facility data - Provide care reminders and manage client referrals to strengthen clinical support Ministries of Health must have internet in order to use this system. MHero provides ministries with a cloud server for back-up.Interview with representative RapidPro has the capability to use interactive voice response (IVR) although this feature is not being used for most mHero messages.Interview with representative

Product Schematics

Technical Support

Tools and resources are available on the mHero website to assist implementers and donors with effectively using mHero. IntraHealth provides guidance to ministry staff while setting up mHero.

Replacement Components

N/A

Lifecycle

N/A

Manufacturer Specified Performance Parameters

Unknown

Vetted Performance Status

mHero was piloted in four counties in Liberia in December 2014. During the pilot, mHero sent an SMS message to 482 health workers. Of the 289 health workers reached, 57% (n=165) responded to the first mHero message and three-fourths (72% or n=119) of those who responded to the first message completed all 15 questions in the workflow. The pilot was also successfully tested in Sierra Leone. A validation message was sent to over 8,000 health workers and 2,181 individuals responded to the first message.

Safety

N/A

Complementary Technical Systems

Unknown

Academic Research and References

Akaninyene, O., Ebenso, B., Okuzu, O. and Osifo-Dawodu, E., 2016, Using a mHealth Tutorial Application to Change Knowledge and Attitude of Frontline Health Workers to Ebola Virus Disease in Nigeria: a Before-and-After Study, Human Resources for Health, 14(5).

“Country Deployments.” n.d. Mhero.Org. Accessed June 6, 2024. https://www.mhero.org/country-deployments

“IntraHealth.” n.d. IntraHealth. Accessed June 6, 2024. https://www.intrahealth.org/

“Office of Innovation.” n.d. Unicef.Org. Accessed June 6, 2024. https://www.unicef.org/innovation/

“How Thoughtworks Brasil Fought Ebola.” n.d. Thoughtworks. Accessed June 6, 2024. https://www.thoughtworks.com/insights/blog/how-thoughtworks-brasil-helped-fighting-ebola

“International – JSI International Public Health Management.” 2019. JSI. July 4, 2019. https://www.jsi.com/international/

“Home.” 2022. HISP-SA. May 14, 2022. https://www.hisp.org/

“Countries Use IHRIS to Fight Ebola.” n.d. Ihris.Org. Accessed June 6, 2024. https://www.ihris.org/countries-use-ihris-fight-ebola

“Sierra Leone Becomes Third Country to Adopt MHero in Ebola Recovery.” n.d. IntraHealth. Accessed June 6, 2024. https://www.intrahealth.org/news/sierra-leone-becomes-third-country-adopt-mhero-ebola-recovery

“Homepage.” 2020. OpenHIE. November 18, 2020. https://ohie.org/

“Home.” 2018. DHIS2. November 26, 2018. https://dhis2.org/

Nyaruka Ltd. n.d. “RapidPro.” Rapidpro.Io. Accessed June 6, 2024. https://app.rapidpro.io/

“Health Worker Registry Project Benefitted Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic and Beyond in South Africa.” 2023. OpenHIE. August 2, 2023. https://ohie.org/impact-stories/health-worker-registry-project-benefitted-response-to-the-covid-19-pandemic-and-beyond-in-south-africa/

“IHRIS Wiki.” n.d. Ihris.Org. Accessed June 6, 2024. https://wiki.ihris.org/mediawiki/index.php/CapacityPlus%27s_iHRIS_Suite

“RapidPro.” n.d. Github.Io. Accessed June 6, 2024. https://rapidpro.github.io/rapidpro/docs/ivr/

“Implementation Kit.” n.d. Mhero.Org. Accessed June 6, 2024. https://www.mhero.org/implementation-kit

N.d. Africanstrategies4health.Org. Accessed June 6, 2024. http://www.africanstrategies4health.org/uploads/1/3/5/3/13538666/mhealthvol5_final_15jun15_webv.pdf

“Sierra Leone Successfully Tests MHero.” n.d. Mhero.Org. Accessed June 6, 2024. https://www.mhero.org/news/sierra-leone-successfully-tests-mhero

“The MHero Story.” n.d. IntraHealth. Accessed June 6, 2024. https://www.intrahealth.org/vital/mhero-story

“Office of Innovation.” n.d. Unicef.Org. Accessed June 6, 2024. https://www.unicef.org/innovation/

N.d. Ihe.Net. Accessed June 6, 2024. https://www.ihe.net/uploadedFiles/Documents/ITI/IHE_ITI_Suppl_CSD.pdf

N.d. Ihe.Net. Accessed June 6, 2024. https://ihe.net/uploadedFiles/Documents/ITI/IHE_ITI_Suppl_mACM.pdf

“Aggregate Data Exchange.” n.d. Ihe.Net. Accessed June 6, 2024. https://wiki.ihe.net/index.php/Aggregate_Data_Exchange

Compliance with regulations

mHero adheres to the Care Services Delivery standard. Other standards that will soon be supported by mHero are the Mobile Alert Communication Management and the Aggregate Data Exchange standards. The development and deployment of mHero has aligned with the 9 Principles for Digital Development. mHero has partnered with Dimagi to work towards integrating mHero with CommCare.Interview with representative

Evaluation methods

Pilot studies were done in Liberia where 482 SMSs were sent to health workers to validate their phone numbers, location, job title, supervisor and facility. Only 289 of the health workers were reached due to ongoing negotiations of mobile network operator contracts. Of the 289 workers reached, there were 119 respondents.

Other Information

Recipient of USAID's Ebola Grand Challenge Award. Liberia’s Ministry of Health and Social Welfare has included mHero as an official strategy in its new Investment Plan for Building a Resilient Health System.

Comments from the Community

1 Comment

  1. E4C.COMMENTS says:

    Alex says:

    *** Disclaimer: I am a current UNICEF employee so my feedback is limited in order to be impartial.

    mHero relies upon integration with mobile network operators to supply free SMS messages and therefore suits a larger deployment. The tool is however extremely well documented.

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