Use case: Cholera intervention

The goals of the Action Framework is to provide relevant data for strategic decisions, reduced complexity and simple maintenance of field IT, and cut overhead on development of new data-collecting functionality.

overview and strategic perspective

Through the business intelligence component of the AF, where data can easily be exchanged and cross checked between different relevant actors, aggregated data relating to cholera outbreaks is analysed. This contributes to reveal a more nuanced and in-depth overview in a regional level endemic cholera context that epidemiologists and Public Health department staff at OC level have chosen to prioritize. Besides data on cholera outbreaks with more detail level information (demographics, geography, mortality rates, bed days, etc.) from different OC’s, it is also possible to combine and cross-check with data from other NGO’s and MoH. 

In addition, other relevant data on activities relating to water and sanitation, health promotion and community awareness, food safety, etc., is used to identify patterns that in turn provides an even more complete picture of the situation. This allows for a more comprehensive approach to not only address outbreaks of cholera and other diarrheal diseases but also prevent them. In addition, the analysis shows that the likelihood of cholera outbreaks in the coming period is high due to cyclical reasons (rain period) as well as weak overall preventative activities (from MoH as well as the humanitarian/development sector). 

The strategic decision is to carry out a cholera vaccination campaign targeting children < 5 as this group have been especially affected in previous outbreaks. This has, in dialogue with the field teams, been identified as a good way to raise awareness. The analysis also helps identify especially vulnerable communities that can be targeted more holistically as the well based analysis from a wide range of reliable sources, MSF can mobilize and coordinate other actors to participate and contribute with activities necessary to complement the vaccination campaign.

Alert notification

When the strategy is more developed in detail with the field team, there are some practical aspects that needs to be addressed. The high level data has provided a very good overview, but it turns out that it is necessary to contextualize data even more as updated and relevant data has not been included to the extent to have maximum impact. 

By gathering cholera related data from other stakeholders (that haven’t previously shared their data), and analyzing it centrally, it’s possible to get an even better project level overview.  It is possible to share the data with projects in other OC’s, as well as other caregivers that have not yet been included in the Action Framework. 

All actors are equipped with pre-configured agents, that let’s an administrator remotely push installations to them. As vaccinations and other related activities are administered and tracked in a spreadsheet, the application collects data from it according to configuration and sends it back to a central server. If the agent is disconnected, it can store the data locally while waiting for connectivity. The central server collects medical data from several agents, as well as logs to track the status of the agents. It also exposes an API that let’s external systems pull data as needed. 

If new needs arise, the administrator can reconfigure the applications running on an agent remotely, or push new applications with different functionality. If an install fails, or if an agent breaks in the field, the server will be notified and pushes an alert to the administrator. Through this work, the data set is now even more relevant and up to date for the different projects and contributes to an even more effective and efficient intervention.

Customized functionality and App development

During the cholera intervention, that now has grown beyond a pure vaccination campaign, the local team sees that the possibility to exchange data and information between them as well as with other actors now is not only possible but also very easy to do, even on a local level.

This is something that the field teams want to explore as they see that this can be used for many other kinds of operational activities as it provides them with the possibility to tailor suit applications according to their specific needs. By looking into the App-library they can have an overview of what applications exists and which ones can be used for their specific purposes. 

When the need arises to develop new applications and corresponding widgets, the AF provides libraries and a set of best practices for standard functionality, such as different modes of visualization and integration to external systems.