The Bulamu Follow-Up Program
The Bulamu Follow-Up Program was launched to provide continuity of care to the patients treated at our medical camps. By arranging for a community health worker to visit the patients in the months after the camp, we can learn if their symptoms have been relieved or additional treatment is needed. This followup interview allows us to document patient outcomes from their Bulamu camp treatment, something no other medical camp operators have been able to do.
In February 2018, after our successful Supercamp in the Sheema District, we agreed with district officials to jointly design a follow-up program that would build on the strengths of each partner. At our camps, we create a digital record for every patient and store that data in the cloud-based Bulamu EMR system, a record that can be used for follow-up visits in the home. Sheema District is well equipped to conduct these interviews, as they manage 26 MOH health facilities and have a cadre of one thousand local Village Health Team workers (called “VHTs”) trained to provide health assistance within their communities.
To launch the program, we trained 112 Sheema VHTs on interviewing techniques, provided them with a standard questionnaire, and gave them clinical referral forms for patients who needed additional care in one of Sheema’s clinics. Over a two-month period last year, the VHTs conducted 3,038 interviews representing 45% of the camp patients who lived in Sheema District.
Documenting patient outcomes
The follow-up study revealed that Bulamu Supercamps are delivering positive patient outcomes to a population that is otherwise being underserved. The key findings: As a result of this landmark study, we can draw two powerful conclusions:
- POSITIVE CLINICAL OUTCOMES: The medical treatment at Bulamu Supercamps is effective in relieving suffering and highly appreciated by most patients.
- FOLLOW-UP REFERRALS: By partnering with local government in this pilot program, we have extended the reach and impact of our camps and arranged for follow-up care at nearby MOH facilities to patients in need. We are now making this a permanent feature of our medical camps.
- PATIENT HISTORY: 46% of the camp attendees surveyed said they had previously been treated at a health facility for the same medical problem; 34% described the problem as “recurring” (i.e., chronic).
- ADDITIONAL TREATMENT: The VHTs recommended additional treatment to 28% of the patients and gave them a written Clinical Referral Form to present to their closest MOH clinic.