Innovative Solutions Ensure High Quality Data and Analysis
The U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) VectorLink Project employs a strong monitoring and evaluation (M&E) system to ensure high quality data is guiding and strengthening the operations of PMI’s multifaceted malaria prevention campaigns. In 2021, PMI VectorLink collected data across 17 countries conducting indoor residual spraying (IRS), 11 countries supporting insecticide-treated net (ITN) distribution and/or durability monitoring, and 26 countries conducting entomological surveillance. Some of the key indicators that the project monitors are coverage of vector control interventions, population protected by IRS or ITNs, number of people trained, and information on the mosquito population.
PMI VectorLink uses a variety of rigorous data capture, data management, and data analytics tools across its portfolio. One of the most important tools is VectorLink Collect, a global database developed using District Health Information Software 2 (DHIS2). DHIS2 is an open-source, information management software used in every PMI-focus country where VectorLink works. VectorLink Collect supports the project’s diverse data sets, data quality tools, and embedded analytical and visualization capabilities. Through VectorLink Collect, PMI-funded IRS and entomological data are managed in a single system for a comprehensive view of vector control. Using VectorLink Collect, project teams and stakeholders can monitor progress and make programmatic and operational decisions using near real-time data and contribute to more efficient and effective management of large-scale data across a dynamic and changing portfolio of countries PMI VectorLink uses the system for IRS data in all IRS countries and for entomological data in 18 countries. Additionally, users can view IRS and/or entomological data from the predecessor project, the Africa Indoor Residual Spray (AIRS) program. Legacy data is available in VectorLink Collect as far back as 2012 and gives insight into how PMI programs have evolved over time.
Each year, PMI VectorLink country programs are continuing to scale up the use of digital tools such as the use of mobile devices for data collection, which promotes timely decision making and reduces data entry errors through built in checks and error messages at the time of data capture. In eight of the countries conducting IRS, spray operators record data on structures and residents through mobile phones and tablets which allows for near real-time data analysis. For countries supporting ITN activities, PMI VectorLink collects information such as where nets are distributed, how many are distributed, and the longevity of nets. Currently, several PMI VectorLink countries are also in the process of introducing mobile data collection for entomological monitoring.
Enhanced Data Visualizations for Real-Time Decision Making
VectorLink Collect has built-in data visualization capabilities that allow for easy interpretation of PMI VectorLink data and in near-real time. PMI VectorLink country and home office teams, and key stakeholders such as PMI and country National Malaria Control Programs (NMCPs) can all view IRS and entomological data through standardized dashboards summarizing key IRS and entomological indicators or create new data visualizations as needed. During IRS campaigns, users can monitor spray progress and coverage in real-time and understand where challenges are occurring at a granular level to inform programmatic adjustments as needed. Standard entomological dashboards summarize key entomological indicators from vector bionomics, insecticide resistance and IRS residual efficacy data. These dashboards aim to assist country teams and NMCPs to understand malaria vector populations, their behaviors and to determine the quality and efficacy of vector control interventions.
Increasing Capacity Leads to Strong Program Monitoring
As part of PMI’s strategic approach, PMI VectorLink teams work closely with NMCP counterparts to develop and enhance monitoring and evaluation systems used for government-led malaria vector control interventions. In some countries, PMI VectorLink is providing direct assistance to NMCPs on government–funded malaria campaigns by assisting with the creation of monitoring tools and providing supportive supervision for data collection activities. In other instances, data for government-led campaigns is being entered directly into VectorLink Collect, which allows NMCPs to visualize campaign data for several years. District health officials in these countries are trained to analyze program results and use the data for decision-making.
Post-Spray Data Quality Assurance Audits Validate IRS Results
PMI VectorLink periodically conducts internal data audits using the Post-Spray Data Quality Assurance Audit (PSDQA) protocol. This is an innovative and transparent data quality assurance measure that is an integral part of the project’s M&E strategy to validate our IRS results. After a spray campaign ends, PMI VectorLink surveys a representative sample of IRS targeted areas to validate the spray coverage. Additionally, the audit allows the field teams to identify strengths and weaknesses in their operations and M&E systems and implement the appropriate changes to improve performance during the next spray round.