Notice B

Promoting the collaborative development of proposals for investments in digital health global goods

Notice B: Developing a Community of RapidPro Users and Developers in the Health Sector

Primary Author: Terra Weikel

For the past 10 years UNICEF has invested in developing and deploying innovative solutions to overcome the traditional bottlenecks of time,
distance and coordination - to build more resilient and responsive health systems that reach every child. In 2014, building on earlier SMS-based
systems, UNICEF launched RapidPro : an open-source platform that allows anyone to design a messaging service that can send and receive
information directly with users. RapidPro works on the most basic mobile phones as well as on smart devices, and communicates via SMS and
digital channels. It analyzes and presents the data collected in real-time, enabling UNICEF and partners to tackle fundamental development
challenges including more effective exchange of data, better communication with front line workers, and community education and
engagement. RapidPro has become UNICEF’s common platform for developing and sharing information that can be adapted for different
contexts and sectors.
RapidPro has been deployed in 51 countries across multiple sectors, including 18 countries currently using RapidPro to power their digital
health solutions. Its applications for health include patient identification and registration, maternal reminders for social and behaviour change,
health services demand generation, communication with health workers, improved transparency and strengthened accountability of
governments, and tracking stock of essential medicines and health supplies. Some notable highlights can be found:
In Indonesia, where RapidPro is used to monitor the rollout of a large-scale (70 million child) immunization campaign, as well
as to gather info on individual immunization in the most underserved communities
In Uganda, the mTrac system operates at national scale to support the government’s Health Management Information System
with real-time data collected from community health workers on disease prevalence and medicine stock-outs, and from
community members on quality of health services
In Senegal, health workers trained in RapidPro, which powers that country’s mInfoSante tool, built their own mobile service to
coordinate emergency medical transportation and referral. This has made a life-saving difference and has been used regularly
since its launch in 2017.
Through its implementation work, UNICEF has supported the growth of a new community of developers, technical experts, designers,
development professionals and government employees who will lead the development and future use of RapidPro for health interventions. That
community now needs investment to consolidate and improve the resources and training available, and turn it into a lively coordinated
community of practice. As a result of the investment from Digital Square in a strengthened community, RapidPro will become a technically
stronger and more accessible global good, allowing a wider range of users to design and scale RapidPro systems to improve health
interventions. It will also support RapidPro’s ongoing integration with other tools that make up the global ecosystem of open source digital
health solutions.

Final Proposal: 
Application Status: 
Not Approved