Thank you for raising such important topic to be discussed here. Unfortunately, we have seen many duplicated efforts implemented to solve one issue by different programs, in same country and even same community.
I think we are talking about two things here: 1) How we should consider the country context and needs before implementing any digital initiatives? 2) How to select a proper tech solution to meet that needs which should be relevant, scalable, and sustainable?
As for the first question, I think there should be proper planning, envisioning and coordination with the involved country partners and stakeholders. In most cases countries has already started in developing solutions to solve country issues. Therefore, it’s good to build on what they have done so far instead of starting from scratch. I think coordination is a MUST before starting any digital intervention, even better to conduct a situation analysis or needs assessment to better understand what the current situation and challenges need to be addressed before investing in a tech solution.
It’s good to involve (at very early stage) partners, stakeholders and target audience specially health workforce who will be implementing the digital initiative, in order to get their buy-in and ownership from the beginning.
Successful digital intervention needs good coordination and collaboration between partners to work. Installing new technology is easy, the challenge will be in making the tech solution work and used by people. This needs a lot of efforts to change culture and mindset of the target audience and health workers at country or community level.
As for the second question, which is related to selecting the tech solution, I think this need to be decided with tech people at country level to address any technical challenges and constraints, tech requirements and sustainability while designing the project.
Pilot project is always perfect and recommended to start with, in order to test and learn new things before launching and scaling up. Just to avoid efforts being used on an inadequately manner.
Also, it will be required for implementers to look at country digital transformation strategy (if available) and make sure new deployed solutions are aligned with.