Harnessing Technology in South-to-South Collaboration to Fight Malaria

PMI VectorLink Country Teams Build Capacity in Mobile Data Collection

The PMI VectorLink Project works across 24 African countries to fight malaria. A large part of the project’s mission is to carry out indoor residual spraying (IRS), which is proven to reduce the burden of malaria. IRS entails spraying the interior walls and ceilings with an insecticide that kills malaria-carrying mosquitoes. IRS requires high-quality data to plan, implement, and track progress during a spray campaign.

PMI VectorLink Project implemented a mobile data collection strategy in Burkina Faso during the 2019 spray campaign to allow spray teams to make quick and informed decisions to improve spray performance, by immediately intensifying mobilization activities in response to high refusals in certain areas with specific and adapted messages. Having real-time data readily available and accessible facilitates reporting and decision-making on the ground without delay, and more quickly mitigates operational challenges. Improving processes and procedures increases efficiency and save costs.

With the success of the Burkina Faso pilot, PMI VectorLink moved to scale mobile data collection in 2020 IRS campaigns in Benin, Cote d’Ivoire, Mali, and Senegal, as well as continue its use in Burkina Faso. The first large-scale roll out was scheduled for Benin in April, and initially, the VectorLink Burkina Faso Database Manager was to travel to Benin to provide hands-on training. Due to travel restrictions across borders, however, that was not possible.

VectorLink Burkina Faso M&E team adapted the training to remote sessions with the Benin Database Manager, M&E Manager and IT Specialist. The remote feature via Skype, WebEx and WhatsApp allowed the Benin team to maintain close communication with the Burkina team so that they could fully comprehend all aspects of mobile data collection. VL Burkina Faso conducted practical demonstrations on the different mobile data collection tools and applications that enabled the Benin team to configure over 1,600 data collection phones and to train the spray teams on the use of the phones. Weekly meetings were held to track progress and troubleshoot any issues that arose.

This close south-to-south collaboration among the different VectorLink country teams combined with technology allowed for increased capacity among the teams to identify and respond to problems. In turn, PMI VectorLink Benin was better able to serve the community by protecting them more effectively from malaria. VectorLink Benin targeted more than 387,711 structures for IRS in 2020 in efforts to protect more 1,218,679 people.