African Health Now transforms local spaces—schools, markets, taxi stations, church compounds, parking lots—into medical clinics, providing immediate and local access to doctors, screenings, and life-saving information.
African Health Now came to Change Better with a common challenge that every nonprofit faces: how to measure their impact. The organization was exceptional at bringing health care services to vulnerable communities in West Africa. They had organized several major health fairs, with each fair bigger than the last. Patients were raving about the quality of the services they received. It was clear there was potential to make a substantial impact in these communities, but they had very little tangible data on how the fairs improved the health of the communities they served.
Without this data, African Health Now had no way of knowing which of their health services were working or where they needed to improve - information that is critical for a small organization working with a lean budget. And they didn’t have the figures that would convince funders that what they were doing was a great investment.
Through our collaboration we designed a framework for African Health Now to collect the information they needed in order to measure their impact. We looked at several metrics to determine the success of the health fair, including:
- how quickly the fair grows
- the percentage of new patients
- how many new services they’re bringing to the community
But healthcare is something that evolves over time, and we can’t expect patients to become healthy in one day while they attend the fair. Instead, patients take information from the health fair home and change the way they are living, eating, caring for themselves and caring for their families. In order to show the full effect of the fair, African Health Now needed to be able to see how it influenced patient’s everyday lives.
So we designed a follow up care program that empowers local community health workers to stay in touch with patients easily through SMS. Through the data gathered over SMS, African Health Now has access to information like how often patients are getting sick, the number of times they visit doctors, and what kinds of new diseases or health issues are affecting the communities they’re serving.
This information is critical not only to prove the impact of their work, but also helps African Health Now improve their services—when they fully understand the diseases the community is suffering from, they can offer the services that are most needed.
With this framework and the new follow-up care program, African Health Now has access to a supply of data like never before. The organization can now begin to measure the full extent of their impact over time.