Building a Sustainable Network in Africa to Meet Fast-Growing Demand

Older woman talking to a younger woman.

In 2023, we welcomed Caroline Kisia, our first African executive leader who will spearhead our efforts across the continent.

Our LMIC needs assessment, a collaboration with ministries of health and other ECHO partners, highlighted many shared priorities across countries, including mental health, infection prevention and control, and mortality rates for children under five. In line with those priorities, a large anti-microbial stewardship ECHO program, TEACH AMS, launched in four African countries, with plans for significant expansion in 2024.

The ECHO Institute’s designation as a World Health Organization Collaboration Centre for Digital Learning in Health Emergencies strengthened our partnership with WHO AFRO, its regional office in Africa. Through this initiative, ECHO will support WHO’s ongoing efforts to prepare for, and respond to, disease outbreaks and future health emergencies.

Through all of these initiatives, we continued to deepen our relationships with ministries of health across Africa to co-create scalable and affordable solutions that strengthen health systems and improve lives.

woman talking to teenage boy

ECHO Model Supports HIV Peer-to-Peer Mentorships

Across Africa, Zvandiri, a nonprofit organization working to connect young people living with HIV with peer counselors, is using the ECHO Model to provide supervision and support to the counselors in their important work.

Zvandiri counselors, who are living with HIV themselves, encourage testing, treatment, and medication adherence, in addition to helping their peers access mental health and social protection services, including food support, as needed. Physical and sexual abuse, neglect and substance use are common topics on these calls.

During the ECHO sessions, the counselors and their supervisors meet with relevant ministry of health clinical staff and district social services officers to make recommendations and connect clients with social services and HIV care.

“They also know [how to identify] signs of malnutrition in children, and when they see one of these things, they know where, and how, to get these young people help,” said Ackim Nkomo, Zvandiri regional coordinator and CATS supervisor.

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Every month we talk about challenging situations, including mental health and multiple types of violence. We use ECHO’s case management process to review these cases and solve difficult problems, together.”

Peggy Kuchocha

Nurse and Project Coordinator, Young Mentor Mothers Harare, Zimbabwe