Got Digital?


From the Desk of
It is quite a thrill to introduce you to our June ISSUE: Got Digital? Digital Health offerings have provided an opportunity to shift “the starting point of care” to wherever the patient is and bring us even closer to Sara.

Dear Maverick Community,

It is quite a thrill to introduce you to our June ISSUE: Got Digital? Digital Health offerings have provided an opportunity to shift “the starting point of care” to wherever the patient is and bring us even closer to Sara.

This edition will get you up close and candid with the project teams and two members who have funded digital infrastructure that facilitates Sara to be in control of her health choices.

We feature a transformational pilot project in Zimbabwe in collaboration with the National HIV & AIDS Council that utilizes an electronic medical record system to link healthcare facilities with Community Health Workers (like some that you met in the last ISSUE!).

You will also meet the enthusiastic “Connecting with Sara” project team who share the winding and impactful journey on strengthening the digital infrastructure of PSI’s global digital health operations.

Sign up for Master Class, scheduled for June 30th, and enjoy the conversation on expanding digital health to bridge the digital divide so that Sara, who may not have access to the internet or a smart phone, can thrive.

Ready to go digital? Have fun with Heart Homework, where we explore the intersection between technology and health, give consumers agency over their health and bring us closer to Universal Health Coverage.

Indulge and get digital!

My best,

Christine Oduor
Sr. Program Manager, Digital Health & Monitoring, PSI

EPISODE 3 | got digital?

Tune in to Episode 3 of Maverick Beat where, over the course of two segments, we spotlight Community Healthcare Systems Strengthening (CHSS) in Zimbabwe and Connecting with Sara, a project strengthening the digital infrastructure of PSI’s global digital health operations. You can explore more in the content below including English’s and our Member’s “journals,” stories from Sara, photos, and more.

Improving Care and Services for People Living with HIV in Makoni District, Zimbabwe
I want a t-shirt that tells people I am a peer educator that I can wear when I am out on the weekends.

Her name is Phiona. She would be considered an “outlier” by data standards. An outlier is a person or thing that differs from all other members of a group or set. Fiona is a peer educator, HIV positive, and a sex worker.

Sitting across from her on a hot day in Zimbabwe she slowly began to tell me about a life that was full of grit and patience. She talked about her HIV and sex work as if it was commonplace, she was not ashamed, but proud that her experiences led her to become a peer educator and impact the lives of women like her.

Behind Phiona is a set of data that I look at on a computer screen. Her age, gender, date of birth, HIV status, her role as a peer educator, her role as a sex worker, this is information I can see and count and analyze, but Phiona is the person I met.

This is an excerpt from Huffington Post. To read the full article, click here.

Phiona, peer educator, HIV positive, and a sex worker

  • 1.4 million people in Zimbabwe are living with HIV
  • ~ 50% of people living with HIV receive antiretroviral therapy (ART)
Humanizing data to design a better community health system should be considered paramount to truly make a difference in communities. English Sall

Zimbabwe is one of the worst affected countries by the HIV epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa. There are currently 1.4 million people living with HIV (PLHIV) in the country and about half are receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART). In partnership with the Ministry of Health and Child Care, we implemented the Community Health Systems Strengthening program in seven clinics in Makoni using community-level systems as the backbone of the response to relieve the burden on facilities and the health delivery system. The project set out to address issues in the treatment cascade by training and equipping community health workers with efficient tools to identify HIV positive individuals, initiate them on treatment, and retain them in lifelong care at the scale needed to control the epidemic.

My favorite song

These amazing Community Health Workers sang this to us as we were leaving a visit. I don’t know what song it is but it was beautiful.

A memorable experience

This photo, of doing a focus group of Community Health Workers. They were so excited about learning the tools and having the tablets because they were saying that these skills and education and tools are things they can learn that no one can take from them.

What captured my heart

The people and the team. I have made such great friends and I miss them and I can’t wait to see them when I go back.


Optimizing PSI’s Technology Architecture to Improve Sara’s Health and Well-Being
The platform enables me to learn as I work, unlike other training modalities where we have to leave our facilities for a week and go to learn.

By Javan Waita, PS Kenya and Martin Dale, PSI

In pre-pandemic times, PS Kenya and PSI often provided in-person training for healthcare workers to update their skills in delivering health services. However, in a world of physical distancing, we had to rethink this model.

Working closely with the Ministry of Health, we designed and implemented a remote capacity-building solution using our existing digital platforms to deliver certified COVID-19 training to over 1,000 private sector health workers.

This solution presents a good opportunity to address the current skills gap associated with COVID-19 and also offers a cost-effective path to scaling up health provider support in the long term.


Provider feedback

  • + 1.3 Million clients reached through Connecting with Sara
  • 17 countries now use the web services developed through the project

In 2017, PSI began a series of mobile health initiatives to bring healthcare closer to Sara by using a tool she already had access to, her phone. This innovative approach required a critical investment to modernize PSI’s technology infrastructure for flexibility, scalability, and performance. With the help and investment from a Maverick Collective Member, “Connecting with Sara” moved PSI from supporting a couple of pilots to creating an infrastructure that now supports the back-end of our global services and allows us to safely and efficiently support Sara’s healthcare needs across platforms, wherever she might be. The digital tools and infrastructure developed through the project now support PSI programs in 17 countries, in a wide range of programmatic areas from COVID-19 response training for health providers in Kenya, supporting field outreach activities for male circumcision for HIV prevention in Zimbabwe, transforming the delivery of injectable contraceptives in Mozambique, and providing digital self-care tools for consumers for on-demand access to quality reproductive health information in Latin America.

Teamwork makes the dream work

The team is outstanding. Their technical and personal skills are excellent, true team members with a shared vision. They are passionate about what they do and are keen, open and enthusiastic about transforming how data was handled within CWS and the impact that this would have on Sara. They were patient with me when I was grappling with the nuances of charities, made me laugh endlessly and we shared a love of G+T’s and beer!

What I learned

I knew nothing about working with a charity, my background is mostly commercial. I have learnt about how charities work and how difficult it is for them to long-term plan, because of the mainly short-term nature of funding from donors. I have met some other wonderful Maverick Collective members and developed co-funding and friendships with them. Biggest take-away is that I now see the impact of providing “risky”, grass-roots funding of projects that “no one else” may fund. This is a cornerstone of my funding vision now.

Multiplying impact

This is my area of technical expertise and I want to apply this within a project. It was an area that would not usually be funded, as it is for “core infrastructure”. From my experience, I know that getting the infrastructure systems functioning well can bring real positive impact within an organization. I got to know Malcolm and when I knew he would be involved, that sealed the deal for me.


Bridging the Digital Divide

COVID-19 proved the power of digital solutions in accessing healthcare. it helped people stay connected to care without having to leave the safety of their homes.

Yet, roughly 3 billion people around the world lack access to critical digital tools that can save lives. especially in times of crisis. How do we bridge this digital divide, meet more consumers wherever they may be, and continue to digitally innovate?

In this Master Class we will discuss how to bring quality healthcare closer to consumers in broadband-limited communities while ensuring no one is left behind.



Information Systems Manager, PSI Zimbabwe

Aleck Dhliwayo is PSI Zimbabwe’s Information Systems Manager based in Harare.

Aleck has considerable experience in innovative Information systems in the Public Health arena. Aleck has a special interest in delivering cutting-edge, appropriate Digital health technologies and strategies for real time decision making and increased health impact in low resource environments.



Director of Operations, National AIDS Council (NAC), Zimbabwe

Raymond Yekeye is the Director of Operations at the National AIDS Council (NAC) of Zimbabwe and is the principal in charge of all NAC programming. He has been involved with the Makoni Project since its inception and is the focal point at the National AIDS Council.

Besides being the point person on the project, his work also includes partnership management enabling linkages of the project with other HIV-related programmes in Makoni.

Raymond has previously worked with the Ministry of Health and Child Care which has assisted in ensuring embedding the program within the structures of the Ministry at the health facility level.



Maverick Collective Member

English Sall holds a PhD in industrial and organizational psychology and is a board member of the Sall Family Foundation and several global health and development organizations.

English is also the co-founder of Embark, a gender justice initiative serving grassroots feminist movements, and is currently serving as a post-doctoral fellow at the Carolina Health Informatics Program at University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health.



Program Manager, PSI Global Services Hub

Terry is a  project management professional with over 10 years of experience. Driven by the desire to improve lives, she is passionate about delivering interactive, consumer-centric Global Health solutions that leverage mobile technology to provide users with access to information and quality health services contributing to Universal Health Coverage (UHC). Within PSI, Terry leads the design and implementation of consumer and workforce digital solutions in 15 countries in Africa and Asia as well as eLearning.



Program Manager, PSI Global Services Hub

Susan is a passionate and skilled IT professional with over 12 years hands-on experience in system design, implementation and support. She has a rich skillset mix in identifying business needs/problems and recommending and designing cutting edge digital initiatives and solutions. She also enjoys engaging users and is an evangelist of user-centered design approach in systems implementation to maximize benefits both to the user and the organization. She is currently the Digital Product Manager at the Digital Health & Monitoring department at PSI with a focus on implementing and improving workforce solutions to support quality and efficient delivery of healthcare. When not working, she loves spending time with family and running!



Deputy Director, Global Health, PSI

Chris Purdy is PSI’s Deputy Director of Digital Health and Monitoring and directs the technical execution and implementation of PSI’s global consumer-powered digital health strategy.  He leads PSI’s digital response to COVID-19, including the technical development of WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger-based conversational AI tools for personalized health information provision for consumers, and mLearning courses for frontline health workers. Chris has spent the last ten years implementing health management information systems, consumer health platforms, and mobile applications for health workers in LMICs. He holds a Masters of Science in Health Systems from Johns Hopkins University, and lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan.



Maverick Advisor & Lead, Strategic Partnerships, PSI

Malcolm began his career at the European Commission President’s office in Brussels, Belgium and subsequently moved on to the private sector where he worked on communications strategies for a large multi-national telecommunications company operating in Europe, the Middle-East and Africa.

Following the completion of his MBA, he volunteered with VSO in Bosnia and Herzegovina where he worked with a local refugee return organisation on their sustainability strategy. In 2004, he returned to Ireland where he established VSO in the country and facilitated over 400 highly skilled Irish expert volunteers to work with local partners in Africa and Asia on capacity building programs. Malcolm also served as VSO’s Country Director in Mozambique, overseeing a large women’s economic development programme and a girl’s school programme.  Malcolm’s work also extends to Southern and Eastern Africa, Southeast Asia, Sri Lanka, the Philippines and the Maldives.

At PSI, Malcolm leads Strategic Partnerships and works to develop shared value relationships with corporate and foundation partners. He is also a Maverick Advisor and in this edition of ISSUE, Malcolm is standing in for an anonymous Maverick Member.



Kenya Country Director, VIAMO

Mercy Simiyu is a public health specialist with an avid interest in tech innovation for impact. Previously working with Komen Foundation, a breast cancer organization in the US, she helped ensure access to care for minority women and patients in the Los Angeles area. Mercy has also worked for AED-USAID in Liberia and as a Public Health Director for Lalmba in rural Ethiopia. She was also based in Kenya and supported community health workers across Africa as the Partnerships and Communications Manager at Medic Mobile (Medic), a global health tech company. Now with Viamo, Mercy has led the Uganda office and has been involved with Viamo-PSI collaborations in the country. She is currently transitioning to Viamo’s Country Director in Kenya.

With a passion for applying Human-Centered Design to tech approaches for positive impact within communities across Africa, her guiding ethos has been that innovation does not have to be app-based to change lives – she designs public health project workflows at Viamo with her grandmother in mind.



Senior Manager, Program Monitoring & Evaluation, MEDIC

A feminist researcher at heart, Helen is a trained social scientist working at the intersection of global health research and program management at Medic as a Senior Manager, Monitoring & Evaluation. In this role, Helen leads M&E efforts across programmatic strategies and works closely with colleagues on the Research and Product teams as she leads Medic’s Responsible Data portfolio. Prior to joining the Medic team, Helen worked at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as an Associate Program Officer in the Global Health division and at the Institute for Health Metrics & Evaluation as a Project Officer on the Global Burden of Disease Study.

Helen is a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow and has a Master’s in Geography from Rutgers University and a Bachelor’s in Geography & Public Health from the University of Washington. She has conducted ethnographic and mixed-methods field research on women’s access to quality care in Sierra Leone, India, Tanzania, and in the USA.



Senior Program Manager, Digital Health & Monitoring, PSI

As the Senior Program Manager for Digital Health and Monitoring at PSI, Christine Oduor oversees implementation of digital health initiatives in over 10 countries in Latin America and Africa. She is ardent about elevating consumer voice – working closely with other insights team across the organization to provide consumer digital insight leadership to inform design and implementation of solutions to increase access and personalized delivery of health information, products and services.

Christine has over 11 years experience in project management and social and market research. She has a background in population studies and a bachelor’s in education from University of Nairobi.



Director, Digital Health & Monitoring, PSI

As Director for Digital Health and Monitoring, Martin is responsible for executing the institutional Digital Strategy focused on increasing access and personalized delivery of health information, products and services using digital solutions. In addition, he is responsible for powering data-driven performance improvement using routinely available data. He previously served as PSI’s Deputy Director within the Evidence Department, and has held other roles in the organisation including at the field level working as PSI South Sudan as a Monitoring and Evaluation specialist.

Martin joined PSI from the British Civil Service, where he worked as a government Senior Policy Analyst for a number of years. He earned a bachelor’s in Development Economics and a Masters in Demography, both from institutions in the United Kingdom.