In Nigeria, an electronic application improves quality of health care for children

12 November 2021
In Nigeria, an electronic application improves quality of health care for children
At the handover ceremony for ALMANACH in Yola, Nigeria. Lemdi Okolie/ICRC

An electronic application is improving the quality of health care for children under five years old. ALMANACH, short for the Algorithm for the Management of Childhood Illness, is a user-friendly application that can be installed on tablets or smartphone and is being used by nurses and community health extension workers to properly diagnose and treat common childhood diseases.

ICRC Nigeria Head of Delegation, Yann Bonzon speaking at the handover event for the ALMANACH project in Abuja. Lucien Christen/ICRC

The application is the brainchild of a partnership involving the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH) and the Adamawa State Primary Heath Care Development Agency (ADSPHCDA). ALMANACH is an adaption of the "Integrated Management of Childhood Illness" (IMCI) concept initially developed by WHO/UNICEF, with a wider range of medical options and sensitivity to the cultural context of communities.

ALMANACH: What is it?.mp4 from icrc nigeria on Vimeo.

Once Almanach team install the application on a tablet or smartphone, it takes healthcare workers through a detailed consultation process where information about the conditions and symptoms of a child is collected. It guides users to perform a complete physical examination, prescribe the most effective treatment and follow up plan and refer the child to another health structure if treatment is not available in the facility. It also requests lab tests when necessary. The tool is tailored on medical resources available in the locality, including medicines and laboratory testing.

Dr. Daniel Ishaya, ADSPHCDA, ALMANACH Clinical Officer demonstrating ALMANACH on a smart phone at the handover event. Lucien Christen/ICRC

With ALMANACH, health care workers have recorded higher recovery rates from acute illnesses, rapid detection and treatment of malnutrition and higher detection rates of critical cases for immediate referral to secondary level facilities.

On 10 November 2021, the ICRC together with the Swiss TPH Institute handed over the ALMANACH Project to the Adamawa State Primary Health Care Development Agency (ADSPHCDA), and will continue to support the project until 2023.

Between January and October 2021, over 64,000 children under the age of five years were diagnosed and treated using the ALMANACH. Download the Almanach Fact sheet here