How Cameroon built a national health map in one week

Feb 29, 2016

After a polio outbreak in October 2013, the nation of Cameroon launched several mass immunization campaigns against the disease. Early campaigns were of poor quality, but after a nationwide, bottom-up "micro-planning" exercise to gather better data on the size and location of the target population, the quality of the campaigns greatly improved and Cameroon's Ministry of Health wanted to build on their success.

Building on the success of micro-planning

To build on the country's micro-planning success, the Ministry of Health chose to create a detailed and up-to-date map with important points of interest like health facilities, settlements, markets, churches/mosques, schools and health area boundaries. These locations are critical for planning immunization campaigns (e.g., polio, measles) and other health interventions, and the easiest, quickest, and most realistic way to build this national health map was with mobile data collection.

This was not the first time Cameroon's health officials and their partners had used mobile data collection. They had previously relied on an established commercial solution for post-immunization campaign coverage surveys, but problems with the software sent them looking for alternatives for this large mapping project. They found Nafundi and Open Data Kit (ODK).

A partnership to build a health map in a week

Nafundi partnered with Cameroon's Ministry of Health, the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control, and the Gates Foundation to design ODK forms for the campaign, install the required servers, configure hundreds of phones, and train teams in the field. Nafundi enabled 400 data collectors to submit more than 80,000 forms in a week.

A selection of the 80,000 forms being submitted by 400 data collectors in Cameroon. The campaign was one week long and each second of the animation is a single day. Submissions arrive in real-time during working hours.

Reinforcing local capacity and enabling cross-region sharing

As part of the effort, Nafundi also trained staff so that Cameroon could build and deploy her own data collection projects without much external assistance. In fact, a few months after mapping the country, Cameroon has gone on to launch a polio surveillance program with Open Data Kit. The tools and techniques that Nafundi trained on are now being shared with other countries in the region who are implementing disease surveillance.

Dr. Fezeu Maurice of the Ministry of Health and Dr. Sume Gerald Etapelong of the World Health Organization led the mapping effort in Cameroon. When Dr. Sume was asked about his experience, he said, "Nafundi's team provided easy data collection and analysis within a short time. We now have a huge, wonderful, and meaningful database [of points of interest] and I do not think we would have been at this stage without Nafundi."

Whether you need help building a health map in Cameroon, or monitoring chimpanzees in Tanzania, or fixing vacant properties in Wisconsin, Nafundi can help your team collect data accurately and report results instantly. Contact our data collection experts to get started.

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