In a rural community in Kenya, a community health worker visits a patient in his home at the top of a steep hill. She takes a blood pressure monitor out of a black backpack filled with a glucometer, a scale, and educational materials and wraps the cuff around his arm to get a reading. It’s high.
Since launching in 2013, LABS has reached more than 1 million patients with hypertension and diabetes, and trained over 3,000 health workers in Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Ghana, Sierra Leone, the United States, and India.
More than three quarters of all noncommunicable disease (NCD) deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries. In Kenya alone, where LABS recently expanded nationwide, hypertension and diabetes are major health concerns and cardiovascular disease is among the leading causes of death. And there is only one physician per 1,000 people in the country of over 54 million, many of whom live in hard-to-reach places.
LABS is addressing this by training community health workers operating in low-resource settings how to screen patients for hypertension and diabetes and use LABS’ digital health platform, SPICE.
The technology platform helps streamline care for patients and clinicians who get an alert if there’s a high blood pressure reading in the field. The dashboard tracks health outcomes and population health indicators in real time — which can support policy and planning for health system leaders.
SPICE is part of what makes LABS so effective. But change doesn’t happen in a vacuum. LABS also forges strong partnerships in the public and private sector, all while connecting patients to care through a network of community health workers.
“SPICE is more than a tool that collects and reports data. It’s a platform designed to drive patient outcomes through community-based care delivery that’s proactive and personalized,” said Anne Stake, chief strategy and product officer for LABS.