Five years ago, Carl and I went to Eldoret, Kenya with a few Android phones so we could pilot the app that would become Open Data Kit.
Our goal was to put these phones, the only Android phones in Africa at that time, into the hands of community health workers at AMPATH. It was our hope that the app would improve how their workers did perpetual home-based HIV counseling and testing (pHCT).
It was touch and go for those two weeks in Eldoret, but we made it work. And AMPATH in turn made it work. And five years later, that shared commitment to magnifying human resources through technology has paid off. AMPATH has surveyed over a million people with ODK.
"The ability to collect data in electronic form and integrate it with the rest of the system is the most important tool we have to be able to successfully implement the pHCT program," said Martin Were, Chief Medical Information Officer for the AMPATH Consortium. "The Open Data Kit has been instrumental in this data collection."
AMPATH's campaign has brought not only HIV testing, but also TB screening, malaria bed nets, de-worming medication, orphan and vulnerable children identification, nutrition assessments and the promise of care and treatment.
As I reflect on this milestone, I'm reminded of an old African proverb that goes "If you want to walk quickly, walk alone. If you want to walk far, walk together." We've walked a long way together with AMPATH in the lead. Congrats to their team, and here's to the next million.