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Tracking Real-Time Progress of HIV-Affected Communities in Haiti

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Taylor Downs

Founder, CEO


Jul 8, 20

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OpenFn data integration has enabled the Caris Foundation to “work towards a better experience for the patient, for the agent, and for external reporting.”


This post was published by Taylor Downs, Head of Product, on The OpenFn Founder’s blog as “Supporting Communities Affected by HIV.” Some changes and updates have been made.

Who is the Caris Foundation and what do they do?

Supported by USAID, the Caris Foundation implemented the Impact Youth Program throughout Haiti to improve the health of Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) infected and affected by HIV/AIDS. The foundation began an HIV program in Haiti in 2007 to support the healthy development of children and families by tracking and assisting the clinical follow-up of HIV positive and HIV vulnerable pregnant women, mothers, and children.

In collaboration with the Ministry of Health, the National Laboratory of Public Health (read more here as well as other hospitals and organizations operating in Haiti, the Caris Foundation currently supports 150 hospitals across all 10 provinces, including support in hard-to-reach districts and remote islands.

Operating across 7 regional offices, Caris Foundation’s network provides coverage to over 95% of the Haitian population.

As part of Caris Foundation’s health worker outreach program, community health workers (“CHWs”) complete daily home visits to children and pregnant women with suspected lapses in clinical and drug adherence. During these visits, CHWs provide vital services such as counseling for clinical adherence, nutrition screening and distribution of essential health supplies like ARV medication, albendazole, and chlorine for water treatment. These services support beneficiaries to regularly attend medical appointments, adhere to drug treatment regimens, receive appropriate lab tests, and seek treatment for new or worsening health problems.

Disconnected systems created week- and months-long reporting lags.

Caris implemented CommCare to enable CHWs to collect data offline via mobile phone when working in remote environments. However, all data collected for analysis, such as beneficiary profiles, services received, and follow-up visits, needed to be manually transcribed via paper copies into the HIV Haiti MySQL database. This process would take a week (and up to several months) to complete, and sometimes the data collected would never make it to the database.

OpenFn data integration saves Caris Foundation staff thousands of hours, enabling live, automated reporting.

OpenFn automatically processes and uploads data from approximately 5000 HIV visits every month. Once in the database, the Caris Foundation is able to track the progress of mothers and children as services are delivered in the field.

To date, OpenFn has automatically cleaned and uploaded 100,000+ CommCare submissions to the MySQL HIV database, saving Caris thousands of staff hours previously spent on data entry and reporting processes. To quote Jenifer Fleurant, IT Programmer at Caris Foundation, data integration has enabled the organization to “work towards a better experience for the patient, for the agent, and for external reporting.” Read our interview with Jennifer here.

The photo above was originally posted on the Caris Foundation site.

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Taylor Downs

Taylor Downs is OpenFn's CEO & Founder. He is a Senior Atlantic Fellow for Social & Economic Equity, received the first annual Harvard SECON Social Impact Award and the 2017 Pizzigati Prize for Software Development in the Public Interest, was named to Forbes’ 30 under 30 list and is a 2012 Echoing Green Fellow, a 2014 Rainer Arnhold Fellow, and a 2015 PopTech Fellow. He serves as an advisor to the Technical, Product, and Architecture Committees for the ITU/GIZ/DIAL-lead GovStack initiative, accelerating the digital transformation of government services through the adoption of digital public goods. Before starting OpenFn, he co-founded Vera Solutions and served as CEO for its first 4 years. Before Vera, he lived and worked in a dozen countries across Africa while focusing on curriculum and M&E at a major public-health implementer. He holds an MSc in inequalities and social sciences from the London School of Economics and Political Science with a focus on technology policy and a BA in religious studies with a focus on Tibetan Buddhism from Amherst College.

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