Shifo Foundation is a non-profit organisation based in Sweden. We work to strengthen health systems and child health services in low resource settings to ensure healthy life start for every child.
Diseases such as pneumonia, diarrhoea, malaria, and problems like malnutrition - which are the main causes of death in infants and young children - can be prevented. However, 1 in 5 children are under-vaccinated and unprotected against these and other deadly childhood diseases. About 20 million young children worldwide are severely malnourished, which leaves them more vulnerable to illness and early death. Undernutrition - which magnifies the effect of every disease, including measles and malaria - causes about 3.1 million child deaths annually or 45% of all child deaths.
There are so many statistics and evidence about the suffering of children around the world that it can be overwhelming to read them. However, it should never let us forget that behind the numbers are millions of mothers and fathers crying for a child lost.
In Shifo we became emotionally bound with the health of every child, and dedicated ourselves to contribute to a world - where every parent can go to bed in peace knowing their gifts of life are protected and every child has a healthy chance to aspire and realise their dreams.
We realised that in order to do so, we have to start by focusing on three major key stakeholders: families, who are the closest ones to children; health workers, who provide care; and local and global decision-makers, who close the gaps in health service delivery to make it accessible and of high quality.
|We work to reach all children with life-saving vaccines and preventive health services. It is a right of every child.|
"We did not receive child health card for our newborn child. I'm not sure what I should do if my child falls sick in the middle of the night".
Far too many children worldwide fall outside of the reach of health services. More than half of all the world’s children are not registered at birth as most of children are born at home, often in remote areas, far from public health centres. This means that there is no way for the health workers to individually target children who are due for vaccination. In many cases, even when parents make the arduous journey to health centres they are poorly informed about how critical immunisation and sound nutritional practices such as breastfeeding are to the healthy development of their child. When families are equipped with information which tells them exactly what, when and how they should take care of their children to prevent some of the deadly diseases, their children have a greater chance to reach their fifth birthday.
"Because we are burdened in our daily work with a lot of administration, it leaves us with no time to follow up on children,or giving individual health talks to all the parents. We know we should focus more on the children but because we're so stressed, we're not so friendly. What should I tell to a mother who walked miles just to hear me say we do not have vaccines because the only gas cylinder is taken to be refilled?".
Health workers in low-resource settings do not have the right tools to help them in their work processes and ensure their time is spent to continuously improve quality of care and to follow up on each child’s preventive health care. Significant portions of their work day are spent on entering data into child health registers, tally sheets, or vaccine control books among many others, as well as the most important task - providing quality care to families with children. It is possible that one nurse finds herself having to immunise as many as 100 children per day and when time is constrained, it results in incomplete data being passed up along the healthcare chain.
"It was very hard for us to find the drop-outs (children who miss their follow-up vaccinations)...[we want to] to enable all our children to improve and grow, and improve child health in general. We know how our nurses and midwives are burdened with data gathering and administration and the unfortunate fact is that neither them nor us believe in its accuracy. How can you close the gaps when you do not know what gap there is and where?".
Huge data and knowledge gaps remain about some of the biggest challenges we face, and many people and groups still go uncounted. Key actors including policy and decision-makers do not have reliable and accurate information on which to base decisions, ascertain gaps in service delivery, or implement appropriate interventions. The importance of reliable data for evidence-based decision making has long been acknowledged. Poor and irregular access to information however, makes it nearly impossible for key actors working to close the gaps in low-income settings to achieve the targets in Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
In Shifo we work to strengthen health systems and child health service delivery. Quite simply, we want to bring life-saving interventions closer to every child, no matter where they are. With MyChild system we address the above three challenges which prevent us from reaching every child with health services.
MyChild system adds value across the entire healthcare chain starting from families with children, frontline health workers, local and national governments to global actors working to close the gaps in preventive child health and health system strengthening.
When every parent is empowered with knowledge that is based on evidence; every nurse works with effective tools and work processes; and every decision maker is able to make decisions based on reliable, relevant and timely data, then within a short time, healthcare can be transformed in a positive way.
We develop scalable, context based solutions that strengthen the existing vaccination service delivery processes and bring value to the local communities
We implement MyChild Card together with local governments and partner NGOs. We work with a 5 year implementaion plan after which the local governments lead it independently.
Long term sustainability
Together with local governments and partner NGOs we work to institutionalise MyChild Card into health policies to strengthen health systems nationally. This is key for long term sustainability.