Most people in the District of Brebes rely on community health centers (Puskesmas) for maternal and child health (MCH) services. Puskesmas have historically used suggestion boxes to receive feedback from the community, despite the method’s ineffectiveness. To address this, USAID MADANI worked with Atma Connect to create a web-based complaint handling system to improve the service quality and performance of Puskesmas. Atma Connect already manages the AtmaGo.com community-based social media platform, which receives customer feedback on health and education facilities in the community, among other features.
The Brebes District Health Office (DHO) was supportive of the initiative from the beginning. “Our idea was to integrate the AtmaGo social media feedback with the Brebes complaint handling system,” said Silvia Yulianti, Atma Connect Program Director. “We believe that the web-based system can contribute to improving maternal and child health care.” Leveraging AtmaGo, which has over 7 million users – including more than 200,000 in the Brebes area – this new system will receive complaints related to basic service delivery and forward them to the DHO and selected Puskemas for follow-up.
In April 2021, Atma Connect kicked-off the development of the new system. They organized focus group discussions to gather information from key stakeholders, including the DHO, Puskesmas, local CSOs, and community leaders. In November, Atma Connect started to field test the new system in two Puskesmas. MADANI and Atma Connect also organized 15 training sessions to socialize the system to 292 potential users, including Puskesmas staff, to ensure awareness and understanding of the new system.
To date, 43 users have provided feedback on a variety of topics, including service hours, administrative processes, fees, quality of services, and physical facilities. In one instance, a customer complained about people parking their motorcycles in the children’s playground. Puskesmas staff acted immediately, clearing the area of motorcycles, hanging a “No Parking” sign, and building a fence around the playground. Customers have also posted their appreciation for a noticeable improvement in services. One user thanked staff for their prompt response to her complaint about the lack of chairs in the waiting area – she was forced to stand in line despite being pregnant at that time. Management promptly added more chairs to increase patient comfort.
The Brebes Government continues to support the initiative, including its scale-up. The DHO assigned staff to help monitor the progress at the two sites and requested expanding the system to two more Puskesmas with financial support from the private sector. In April 2022, the Bupati requested that the system be scaled up to all 38 Puskesmas throughout Brebes. Negotiations are currently ongoing.
Meanwhile, Atma Connect is upgrading several features on AtmaGo to allow additional Puskesmas to set up their complaint handling system. The Brebes experience demonstrates how MADANI’s local approaches are designed for replication to other locations in Central Java and elsewhere.