Scouts in partnership with UNICEF Uganda are prioritizing strengthening of information systems to improve communication, action and response, accountability, community participation and good governance. Within the health sector, these initiatives generally follow three different approaches: improving general service delivery, governance and accountability (i.e. tracking essential medicine to improve stock management), tracking changes in vulnerability patterns (i.e. spikes in cases of waterborne illnesses, necessitating further follow-up by health officials), and social monitoring / participatory development (i.e. fostering community dialogue with localized information to improve accountability and empower local citizens). Mobile Health (mHealth) is a particularly promising area in this field, with UNICEF Uganda currently engaged in a number of ongoing initiatives aimed at strengthening existing systems at the Community, Health Facility, District and National levels.
mTrac, In June 2011, was launched as a nationwide initiative to scale up an innovative package of interventions that builds on the unprecedented growth of telecommunication infrastructure, including network coverage (all areas with significant population in Uganda) and high rates of mobile phone penetration (estimated currently at 34% in Uganda). All reporting within this system will be through SMS, USSD or web based systems. This initiative has two main components: (1) strengthening the existing HMIS system by providing real-time disease surveillance, ACT stock and logistics information, and (2) engaging the larger stakeholder community to report service delivery bottlenecks, generate dialogue and calls for action where failures occur, and strengthen accountability and governance around timely provision of ACTs.
Scouts are training people from different villages on how to Join mTrac so as to continuously report on what’s happening in their community healthy centers.