235695 Mozambique Health Information Network: A mobile technology-based approach to epidemiological surveillance and reporting

Monday, October 31, 2011

Berhane Gebru, BSc; MSc , SATELLIFE Center for Health Information and Technology, Academy for Educational Development, Watertown, MA
Andrew Sideman, BA, MFA , SATELLIFE Center for Health Information and Technology, Academy for Educational Development, Watertown, MA
The project objective was to support epidemiological surveillance data collection and reporting through a two–way communications system utilizing existing cellular networks and mobile devices. The ability to collect, analyze, and utilize reliable, timely data is vital for efficient allocation of resources and empowerment of health workers to provide effective healthcare. Despite recognized links between improving information systems and advancing the quality of healthcare delivery, health information systems in developing nations are constrained by scarce resources, poor communications services, and the fragmentation of health data collection and management processes. Data collected on paper is prone to mistakes, loss, and damage; entering data from paper records into computer databases takes extensive time and introduces additional opportunities for human error. Due to geographic and technological barriers to data movement in low-resource environments, disease surveillance data reported from paper-based collection rarely reaches policymakers in time to support decision making supported by accurate epidemiological analysis. Feedback on data is reported back to the field with even less success and frequency. The project developed a mobile technology-based system, the Mozambique Health Information Network, for data collection, reporting, and analysis and deployed it throughout Mozambique, in all 11 provinces and in 43 districts in Gaza, Inhambane, and Zambezia provinces. Health workers use electronic forms on mobile devices to collect data which is transmitted to the Ministry of Health (MISAU) over the wireless telecommunications system. A MySQL database makes the data available for online analysis and report generation. MHIN has enabled MISAU to rapidly receive and analyze reliable data, track infectious diseases, make informed decisions, and respond quickly to outbreaks. A cost-effectiveness study showed MHIN reduced costs related to managing surveillance data by 20%. MHIN is a cost-saving alternative for epidemiological surveillance data gathering and reporting, providing timelier access to higher quality data as compared to paper-and-pen-based approaches.

Learning Areas:
Communication and informatics

Learning Objectives:
Articulate the technical and environmental challenges confronting deployment of mobile technologies for epidemiological surveillance data collection, reporting, and analysis in developing nations. Identify the benefits of electronic systems for epidemiological surveillance data gathering and reporting compared to manual systems.

Keywords: Data/Surveillance, Infectious Diseases

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am responsible for the logistical, financial, and programmatic management of Information and Communications Technology projects which support health programs in developing countries.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.