On the 8th of May, 2018, the Ministry of Health of Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) declared an outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in Bikoro Health Zone, Equateur Province. To complement the global efforts, the Southern African Centre for Infectious Disease Surveillance (SACIDS) based at the Sokoine University of Agriculture sent information and communication technology experts Eric Beda and Mr. Renfrid Ngolongolo to introduce AfyaData to enhance early detection, timely reporting and prompt response.
AfyaData is an open source digital disease surveillance tool developed by SACIDS. It is a set of two applications, a mobile android-based client and a web-based application acting as a server. The mobile client is used for collecting and submitting surveillance data, and receiving and/or tracking feedback from various levels. The server component caters for data storing/hosting and management.
The SACIDS team liaised with the National Institute of Biomedical Research to setup an AfyaData resource hub, the training of trainers and the digitization of various surveillance forms to be used in EVD monitoring and evaluation. Training centred on four main topics: digital surveillance, digitizing forms, data collection using the AfyaData mobile app and uploading forms and managing users and collected data. AfyaData was also introduced to Chief Medical Officers from throughout DRC and the Ministry of Health surveillance team.
The feedback on AfyaData was positive; it was considered a useful application for enhancing early reporting of EVD as well as helping to reduce the workload associated with paper-based systems. SACIDS are now planning to deploy AfyaData at a community level in DRC to enhance event-based surveillance.