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In new Living Labs initiative, health care workers will co-create solutions to increase immunization coverage in sub-Saharan Africa

August 14, 2019 by PATH

Media contact: Ken Anderson | PATH | media@path.org

Seattle, WA, August 14, 2019 – PATH and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have launched a new partnership to develop innovative approaches that engage and build on the motivation of frontline immunization workers for improved performance. The Living Labs initiative will put health care workers at the center of defining the challenges they ­face in their daily work and being the architects of creative solutions. This project is a new way for PATH, the Gates Foundation, and health care workers to partner as co-creators in the rapid designing, prototyping, and testing of new solutions to increase immunization coverage and equity.

Global improvements in vaccine coverage could not have been achieved without the diligence and commitment of frontline immunization workers. The Living Labs project will allow these nurses and community health promoters—who help ensure children receive their vaccinations on schedule—to describe what motivates them and test and refine their ideas for solutions that can enhance their job performance.

“Frontline immunization workers are heroes in their communities who work tirelessly to serve all families,” said Chris Obong'o, lead product manager for the Living Labs in Kenya. “Through the Living Labs initiative we will honor and learn from their dedication and achievements, while co-creating solutions that will help to increase their job satisfaction and ability to reach their vaccine targets.”

As part of this partnership, PATH is deploying personnel with human-centered design expertise in Nairobi, Kenya, and elsewhere in sub-Saharan Africa, who will become integral members of cross-disciplinary teams with the skills needed to design, build, and evaluate new solutions. Each Living Lab will include a physical space for synthesizing, brainstorming, and storytelling, and equipment for making rapid prototypes so that innovative ideas can be brought to life. Local staff will engage with frontline immunization workers both in the Lab and in health facilities.

“The Living Labs will be spaces where people can come together and solve challenges by better understanding the local context and building the agency of health workers,” said Jeff Bernson, vice president of Technology, Analytics and Market Innovation at PATH. “We expect this model to create an environment where health workers are able to communicate what motivates them and what barriers they face, brainstorm solutions to those barriers, and ultimately find solutions that are sustainable.”

The Living Labs initiative will accelerate health innovation by building on existing human-centered design expertise in the countries where PATH works. While the Living Labs are being established with a focus on applying rapid ideation to enhance the motivation of frontline immunization workers in sub-Saharan Africa, PATH also expects the project to gain learnings from and impact adjacent health challenges and geographies.

About PATH

PATH is a global organization that works to accelerate health equity by bringing together public institutions, businesses, social enterprises, and investors to solve the world’s most pressing health challenges. With expertise in science, health, economics, technology, advocacy, and dozens of other specialties, PATH develops and scales solutions—including vaccines, drugs, devices, diagnostics, and innovative approaches to strengthening health systems worldwide. Learn more at www.path.org.