Community Health Workers

1. Overview

Community health workers (CHWs) are often the primary source of healthcare in rural and low-resource parts of the world, and their work can provide valuable information about public health trends. The job of a CHW involves a lot of record keeping, including tracking households, scheduling consultations, listing referrals, and taking stock of supplies.

SurveyCTO can greatly assist with management of CHWs and keep track of what they are doing especially with our advanced offline features, which enables seamless offline record-keeping. This article provides you with a SurveyCTO workflow that can help you easily manage your own CHW programs.

Advanced offline feature
For a 100% offline workflow, you can enable our advanced offline features, which are not part of a standard subscription. Get in touch to activate advanced offline functionality.

This use case covers the following sections:

  1. Deploy the workflow now!
  2. Understanding the workflow
  3. Workflow components
  4. Customization and improvements
  5. Bibliography

In this workflow, you will be able to:

surveycto_icon.png Track community health workers using an enumerator field and an enumerator dataset.
surveycto_icon.png Gather household data, including information about each household member.
surveycto_icon.png Generate unique household IDs and household member IDs without using randomly generated IDs, and without having to first submit previous forms to the server.
surveycto_icon.png Publish household and household member information to server datasets.
surveycto_icon.png Ask about the symptoms of household members, and help determine if those symptoms are indicative of a disease.
surveycto_icon.png Schedule a consultation in a cases dataset for each household member who requests one (a single form instance can create multiple cases using long publishing).

2. Deploy the workflow now!

Click below to view this workflow in the Hub and install it on your server.

Install Workflow

Note: This is a case management workflow. To test it, follow these steps after deploying the workflow. The cases dataset ID is "chw_consultations".


Advanced users can find the sample workflow files in this folder. For help with manual deployment, check out our support article Deploying form definitions and server datasets.

3. Understanding the workflow

The workflow is composed of two main parts:

  1. Collecting household information and symptoms, and
  2. Conducting scheduled consultations for household members.

In this workflow, you will:

Capture household information
Enter symptoms, and determine if they are indicative of any diseases
Schedule consultations
Open scheduled consultations
Test for possible diseases from last form
Close consultations when they are complete

4. Workflow components

This workflow has two forms and six server datasets. Below, you can find a diagram showing the relationship between these components, as well as a non-comprehensive list of all components, the correspondent files and main purposes. If you would like to learn more about how each component works, its structure and technical characteristics, take a look here.



Workflow Component Files
Click on the section to access the files.
Name CHW - Household form
File(s) Definition: CHW - Household form
Description This form gathers information about each household member. It will also ask each household member if they are experiencing specific symptoms, and determine if those symptoms could indicate they have a certain disease. The CHW can then schedule a consultation for them, which will be published to the CHW consultations cases dataset.
Name CHW - Consultation form
File(s) Definition: CHW - Consultation form
Description This form asks more in-depth questions to a respondent for a requested consultation. It can either be opened from a case created using the household form, or opened from Fill Blank Form for an ad-hoc consultation.
Enumerator Datasets
Name Community health workers
Files(s) Definition: Enumerator dataset definition - Community health workers
Data: Enumerator dataset data - Community health workers
Description List of CHWs. New CHWs will be able to add themselves to the list using the enumerator fields in the forms.
Cases Datasets
Name CHW consultations
Files(s) Definition: Cases dataset definition - CHW consultations
Data: Cases dataset data - CHW consultations
Description List of consultations created using the household form. CHWs will open the consultation form from these cases.

Note: See 3.1. How to deploy the workflow to learn how to use multiple cases datasets in your server.
Server Datasets
Name CHW households
Files(s) Definition: Server dataset definition - CHW households
Data: Server dataset data - CHW households
Description List of interviewed households. Dataset publishing is used to add and update households.
Name CHW household members
Files(s) Definition: Server dataset definition - CHW household members
Data: Server dataset data - CHW household members
Description List of household members from all households. The 'hh_id' column identifies which household they belong to in the "CHW households" server dataset.

Dataset publishing is used to add new household members, and with long format publishing, multiple household members can be added using a single form instance.
Name Symptoms
Files(s) Definition: Server dataset definition - Symptoms
Data: Server dataset data - Symptoms
Description List of possible symptoms. Used as a pre-loaded choice list.
Name Diseases
Files(s) Definition: Server dataset definition - Diseases
Data: Server dataset data - Diseases
Description List of possible diseases, as well as their symptoms.

5. Customization and improvements

SurveyCTO has endless possibilities, so this workflow is only the beginning. Feel free to modify and expand on this workflow to fit your own needs. Here are some tips on what you can add:

  • A recommendation form where household members can recommend other households that could benefit from a visit from a CHW. These new households can be published to the cases dataset, so they will be listed together with the consultations.
  • A stock management form and server dataset. The consultation form involves asking the CHW which supplies were used during the consultation (such as medical tests). You can have a server dataset that keeps track of the number of supplies there are, and use the new Add functionality in dataset publishing to reduce supplies from the total count, or add to the total count to keep track of how often resources are used (so you know how often supplies are used, so you know which ones to stock more often). You can also have a sales form where the CHW sells products to their patients, such as cookstoves or lanterns, which again publishes to the stock management form.
  • Use the table-list field plugin to make it easier to find a household or household member from a list. This plug-in allows you to sort, search, and filter a table list using different criteria.
  • Use the create-google-event field plug-in to schedule events, such as consultations, in Google Calendar.
  • Update the household form so the household head can be changed if it was already set in a previous form.
  • In the consultation form, add fields to refer the patient to a doctor if there is a serious issue the CHW cannot treat on their own.
  • When selecting primary caregivers, filter out children below a certain age (e.g. under 5).

6. Bibliography

  • Symptoms for diseases are from the CDC website. Advice is based on information from the CDC website and the Mayo Clinic website. However, while the sources are reliable, the workflow was not designed by a medical professional. You are welcome to use these resources in your own workflows, but be sure to double-check all medical-related information.
  • Medicine categories are based on this page from the FDA. For simplicity, we only include a few, but your own form can include more, or even ask for the specific name of the medication.

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