Across the globe, diseases have continued to take a toll on human lives and economic resources, leaving a trail of devastation in their wake. In 2021, Malaria posed a significant threat, putting 50% of the world’s population at risk, with 247 million reported cases. Many people lost their lives because of this silent predator. 95% of these malaria cases were concentrated in the beautiful and resilient land of Africa. The burden of the disease is particularly acute in four countries, accounting for almost half of all global cases: Nigeria (27%), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (12%), Uganda (5%), and Mozambique (4%).
Malaria kills 1 person every minute in Africa (Source: WHO). The pain of losing a family member, a friend, a parent, a child, is beyond words, leaving a void that can never be filled. Struggling with limited healthcare infrastructure, many countries, especially in the global south, rely heavily on health campaigns to tackle this pressing issue. In the face of this crisis, the seamless integration of technology emerged as a pivotal asset in mobilising public health campaigns with the urgent need for digital health campaigns distributing life-saving interventions and disseminating critical information. With this it became imperative to construct a purpose-built product that can streamline and enhance the management of health campaigns enabling targeted messaging, monitoring campaign progress in real-time, providing data-driven insights, and reaching even to the most remote corners of the world. This marked the advent of the DIGIT Health Campaign Management (HCM), a fit-for-purpose, open-source digital public infrastructure.
Introducing DIGIT Health Campaign Management (HCM)
DIGIT HCM aims to empower program teams to plan, execute, monitor, and evaluate campaigns for various diseases, enabling governments to enhance coverage, equity, and cost-effectiveness of their health campaigns. Collaborating with global partners, the eGov team immersed in local contexts in Africa, crafting a user-centric platform. Rigorous testing and collaboration helped to highlight challenges, leading to a truly purpose-fit product. To grasp the expectations and hurdles, eGov collaborated closely with National Malaria Control Program (NMCP), Catholic Relief Services (CRS), Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), and other stakeholders during their visit to Africa. During these visits, the team identified critical issues that hindered the effectiveness of the campaigns. Moreover, the issue of digital sovereignty plagued governments, as existing systems were proprietary and restricted access to vital public health data. Specific challenges were identified related to community engagement and the reliance on device availability for campaign scheduling. Capacity building emerged as a key area of interest, recognising its potential to empower local communities and drive sustainable change.
To validate the platform’s effectiveness, real-world testing opportunities were sought. In partnership with the National Malaria Control Program (NMCP), CHAI, and World Vision, the team visited Nampula, Mozambique, in October and November 2022, and through user acceptance tests (UAT) the platform’s capabilities were validated. Real-world scenarios were simulated to assess its performance and adaptability. Health authorities there showed enthusiasm about the platform’s capabilities and how it could contribute to integrated health campaigns. Discussions revolved around leveraging technology to improve data quality, real-time monitoring, and community engagement. At the end of the session, the UAT participants gave a System Usability Survey (SUS) score of 82.5 % to DIGIT HCM.
User Acceptance Testing in Mozambique
DIGIT HCM is now being rolled out as part of the Long Lasting Insecticidal Nets (LLIN) campaign for the periodic distribution of bed nets in the Tete province of Mozambique. This platform will be accessible to all the stakeholders of Mozambique. The platform will subsequently be rolled out in other provinces and campaigns of different natures. eGov Foundation is closely working with the National Malaria Control Programme (NMCP) and the Ministry of Health (MISAU), government of Mozambique, towards the exemplar. According to the campaign schedule, the distribution will start in the last week of August 2023.
Presenting DIGIT Health Campaign Management at the Alliance for Malaria Prevention (AMP) Conference in Kenya
Understanding the significance of collaboration in addressing the global malaria challenge, the team actively forged partnerships and worked with individuals and organizations in Africa to understand problems and systemic challenges. Additionally, also emphasizing on eGov’s capacity-building interventions.
At the Alliance for Malaria Prevention (AMP) Annual Partners and Campaign Digitalisation event held in Nairobi, Kenya, DIGIT HCM was presented to leaders representing 22 African countries, global funding organisations, and technology partners. The demonstration of DIGIT HCM at the conference garnered substantial interest, with countries like Liberia, Benin, Senegal, Uganda, Nigeria, Togo, Gabon, and Madagascar expressing a strong desire to adopt the platform.
During the mission to Liberia, the team engaged with key stakeholders to understand the significance of digital platforms in addressing the country’s challenges like limited access to electricity and the internet. The visit to Liberia aimed to pave the way for collaborative efforts in meeting Liberia’s unique requirements. eGov remains steadfast in its commitment to combat malaria and alleviate the burden of disease on vulnerable communities. With new collaborations, DIGIT HCM leads the fight against malaria, empowering countries with impactful digital health campaigns.
As one of the attendees at the AMP Conference from Nigeria remarked ‘eGov is the new Gold!”