In 2015, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced a new strategy for malaria control and elimination and a key goal was eliminating malaria in at least 10 countries by 2020. In the Eliminating Malaria report that WHO published, action-oriented surveillance data was noted as one of core needs.
Malaria surveillance data can only trigger effective actions when the collected data are monitored and used. In countries where malaria elimination is a priority, collected data is stored across multiple organizations and in multiple systems. The distributed nature of these systems prevents the fast and integrated analysis that is critical for data-driven decision making.
Countries with the potential to eliminate malaria by 2020. Image courtesy of World Health Organization.
Although the challenge in pulling together actionable information from different data sources is known to the software industry, existing solutions have targeted highly-trained specialists who work in organizations with large budgets and in countries with stable infrastructure. Further, these solutions do not connect to critical tools like DHIS 2 and Open Data Kit that are already in use in these countries.
Nafundi has received a multiyear grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to create a free and open-source platform that will enable lightly-trained health workers to integrate these distributed malaria data sources. Over the next eighteen months, we will work with the Gates Foundation and its partners to build, refine, and deploy our platform to enable malaria data integration in Southern Africa.