Research and Publications

Natural and Applied Science

Abstract: For a long time, the Malawi health sector community level was using paper-based tools. However, the huge impact of the data generated at the lowest level of the health sector in performance monitoring, decision making, planning and measuring progress prompted the need to have digital solutions. When digital tools were introduced; most of them were only addressing a single functionality or programme, resulting with a lot of fragmentation and siloed systems. Therefore, most of the information systems in place are not holistic, what is missing is information systems that are integrated in nature, encompassing all the patient and programmes data. The Malawi MoH through the Community Health Services Section (CHSS) in collaboration with other departments is implementing an integrated community health information system (iCHIS), resting upon an open-source, web-based platform – DHIS2. The goal of this paper is to discuss the role that different communities of practice (CoP) played in the different phases of iCHIS development and implementation. Drawing on case material from several CoPs in the Malawi health sector community level, a case is built around the use of CoPs, arguing that if the different communities are well coordinated and collaborated, they will be able to enhance the integration of the community health information system. In this paper, we analyzed how the interaction of different CoPs have led to the successful implementation of the integrated community health information system (iCHIS) in the Malawi health sector. Five CoPs were identified namely: policy makers, developers, users, facilitators and supervisors CoPs. doi:

Abstract: In Malawi, mobile money providers and banks predominantly provide customers access to financial services through USSD applications. A customer dials a specified code to access services and a list of services are displayed on the phone interface, with an input field for registering a selected list item. This study analysed design consistency in four USSD applications, two provided banks and the other two provided by mobile network operators. Design consistency, within and across applications, is essential towards realising desirable user experiences. Design consistency looks at creating uniformity in look and behaviour in interface elements and aspects of software that are meant to accomplish similar functionality. Internal consistency focuses on an application’s design, content, and behaviour to be the same within screens and features. External consistency is concerned with like implementation of functionality and interface elements, that are aimed at achieving similar objectives, across applications. Literature suggests that inconsistency in design negatively affects users’ mental models on how applications function, which then negatively impacts user experience with software products. A mental model is a person’s mental construction of how things are made and can be interacted with. The study did a comparative analysis of how the four applications support the following operations: checking account balance, transferring funds, buying airtime and buying electricity units. Services were compared in terms of the number of steps to get to a target goal, provision of feedback to users, logical ordering of options and design consistency. The study found both internal and external inconsistencies in the design of the applications, in terms of the number of steps followed to achieve a desired goal, layout of options and presentation of feedback. The study, then, came up with a design framework to enhance design consistency in mobile banking platforms. Citation: Byson, L., & Manda, T. (2020, November 18-21). Design Consistency and Mental Models in USSD Banking Applications in Malawi . The 3 rd Nation Research Dissemination Conference, Mangochi, Malawi.