Backpack PLUS Toolkit

“I used to make more money before, working as a farmer […] but it doesn’t matter, because the health of my community is more important.”
Community Health Worker
Unicef, MDG Health Alliance, and frog worked with more than 60 organizations to design a comprehensive toolkit to empower and activate Community Health Workers (CHWs). Backpack PLUS promises to improve CHW effectiveness and engagement, resulting in more lives saved.


Seven million children are estimated to die every year due to lack of basic health resources. Community Health Workers (CHWs)—often unpaid volunteers—are frequently the last-mile of hope for many young patients dealing with malaria, pneumonia and diarrhea.

UNICEF, the MDG Health Alliance, and frog collaborated with more than 60 organizations over a four-month period to shape a set of holistic solutions intended to empower and activate CHWs.

frog conducted extensive design research in Uganda and Senegal to better understand the real-world needs of CHWs. The team uncovered a broad range of obstacles, from a lack of regular training sessions and access to crucial medical supplies, to fragmented data management systems. Additionally, CHWs have their role regularly questioned by the greater healthcare system around them. Following a human-centered innovation process, the team directly involved CHWs in the design of new tools and solutions aimed at improving the quality of service they provide to their communities.

Based on the research, frog identified CHW archetypes and created an integrated toolkit comprised of key physical, digital, and service-level components required to elevate the effectiveness of CHWs.

The Backpack PLUS toolkit includes a set of strategic frameworks aimed at mapping and supporting CHW programs. These strategic assets are complemented by diagnostic aids to remind CHWs of the key steps to follow before, during, and after a patient visit. Consistent packing design helps CHWs work more efficiently. Smartphone-based digital solutions complete the package to help CHWs effectively diagnose patients, restock their supplies, and report on their visits. To close the loop, an iconic CHW emblem establishes quality of service and value delivered to communities.

The Backpack PLUS toolkit is a first step to help CHWs deliver the core healthcare services often sorely lacking in vulnerable communities all around the world.

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