John Barber, MD is a 4th-year resident in Internal Medicine & Pediatrics. He graduated from the University of Massachusetts Medical School in 2019. Prior to medical school, John spent five years working on diagnostics for resource-limited settings, initially focusing on HIV diagnostics in East and Southern Africa, then Ebola rapid diagnostic tests in Sierra Leone during the 2014-2015 outbreak, and later on other non-malarial fever projects. This background in diagnostics led to his interest in clinical medicine and health-system strengthening. As a global scholar, John partnered with P-HEALED, a Ugandan-based NGO, to evaluate their Community Health Worker program in the Kasese district of western Uganda, to identify and address any gaps in the program to improve pediatric care. John has since accepted a position at P-HEALED as Community Health Worker Program Advisor; Research & Operations Manager, and after residency he will be splitting his time as an Internal Medicine Hospitalist at Beth Israel in Boston with his ongoing work with P-HEALED.
Community Health Workers (CHWs) have helped to improve the health of populations around the world for decades, with some of the most significant gains in pediatrics by reducing under-5 mortality by treating malaria, pneumonia, and diarrheal illnesses. Since 2020, People’s Health & Economic Development (P-HEALED), a Ugandan-based NGO, has been training, supporting, and stocking a cohort of 20 CHWs in the Kasese district of Western Uganda to diagnose and treat malaria, pneumonia, and diarrheal illnesses in their communities. Stock management is a pivotal part of this program, and due to several operational and systems issues, P-HEALED was experiencing stockouts in their central stockroom, leading to downstream CHW stockouts.
The objective of this project was to Improve P-HEALED’s stock management system (SMS) and eliminate central stockouts altogether, specifically related to key CHW supplies of malaria rapid diagnostic tests, Coartem for treating malaria, amoxicillin for treating pneumonia, and oral rehydration solution packets for treating dehydration related to diarrheal illnesses. The new SMS must be easy-to-learn and easy-to-use by staff with limited computer skills, include quality control checks to identify data entry errors that are not reflective of true stock quantities, and allow for remote monitoring by senior management.