PMI VectorLink Builds In-Country Capacity on DHIS 2 Platform
Standardized, reliable health information data is critical to mapping and responding to disease outbreaks, improving disease surveillance, monitoring patient health, and planning targeted health interventions, such as indoor residual spraying (IRS) and distribution of insecticide-treated nets for malaria prevention.
District Health Information Software 2 (DHIS 2), a free and open source, cloud-based data management platform, has emerged as a globally-accepted standard for health management information systems in low- and middle-income countries and is being used by more than 60 countries and 23 organizations for management and reporting of data. The DHIS 2 software has robust data quality controls and dynamic visualizations to provide end-users with near real-time access to customized information products for decision-making. In 2018, the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) VectorLink Project, through its partner BAO Systems, designed a global, DHIS 2-based data management system to support routine IRS data needs across PMI VectorLink countries. From community mobilization activities to spray team performance, PMI VectorLink’s new system, VectorLink Collect, allows for near real-time program monitoring, quality assurance, and analysis through a variety of core DHIS 2 visualization functionalities. Built to mimic social media posts, allowing for comments and “likes”, the VectorLink Collect DHIS 2 dashboards enable the project to share tailored analytic objects targeted to end-users’ interests, track comment threads in support of real-time data dialogue, and display data in different ways to monitor the progress of an IRS campaign.
The project will have all its IRS countries using the same global DHIS 2 database for data entry and data visualization. In 2018, the project rolled out the use of the platform in Malawi, Zambia, Tanzania, and Kenya. In 2019, PMI VectorLink will bring seven additional countries onto the system and by 2020, all PMI VectorLink countries implementing IRS will be using the VectorLink Collect DHIS 2 system for IRS data. The VectorLink team is currently developing an entomological surveillance module for the DHIS 2 system, including insecticide resistance and susceptibility testing data, to provide a “one-stop data shop” for vector control decision-making.
PMI VectorLink is the first project to have a functional offline, desktop application that syncs with the DHIS 2 server. This means that the reach of the database can be expanded to remote areas with poor connectivity. PMI VectorLink provides training on maintaining and managing the database. To date, the project has trained 254 data entry clerks on basic data entry using DHIS 2 and the country and home office M&E teams are thoroughly trained on the system. The success of the new capacity is already being recognized, and the project plans to hold trainings with in-country government stakeholders to ensure government ownership of spray data for decision-making.
Because all of the PMI-focus countries have some version of a DHIS 2-based system working in their countries, the project is increasing country capacity to manage the core software and improve the monitoring and management of targeted health interventions. In doing so, PMI VectorLink is equipping countries to eventually adopt the system for their own government-led IRS campaigns, if desired.