Online Program

Community-based Prevention Information System (CoPIS): A case study of the STEPS OVC Program in Zambia

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Devina Shah, MPH, Health, World Vision, Washington, DC


Out of a population of 13 million in Zambia, 20% is an orphan and/or vulnerable child (OVC) or a person living with HIV (PLHIV).  World Visions’ STEPS OVC  Program provides care and support to almost 600,000 OVC and PLHIV through 380 plus community based organizations (CBOs) working through a network of more than 40,000 trained community volunteers.

CoPIS development was done through a deliberate and systematic process of consensus building on information needs, standardization of forms across organizations with existing M&E structures, and rolling out a database to more than 80 data capture sites with low IT capacity and poor infrastructure.


The program has conducted basic data collection training among 15,522 volunteer community workers.  With one in every four (24%) volunteer community workers unable to read and write in English – the primary language on forms – the program opted to pair illiterate community workers with literate ones, and refer the illiterate workers to adult literacy classes.  Standardization of data collection tools was achieved through three iterative reviews and pre-testing.

Lesson learnt

Lessons learned from the design and implementation of CoPIS include: a high-quality management information system takes time to develop and roll-out; involvement and feedback from the community is critical; and balancing adaptability, gradual change, and cost is important.

Next steps

The STEPS OVC CoPIS is currently the most comprehensive data collection information system in Zambia for OVC. The program will transfer the system to an appropriate government entity to ensure its sustainability.

Learning Areas:

Communication and informatics
Other professions or practice related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Demonstrate and discuss importance of community-based information system CoPIS (Community-based Prevention Information System) in improving access to HIV services by ensuring readily available information to HIV service providers and decision makers at various levels.

Keyword(s): Community Health Workers and Promoters, Health Systems Transformation

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: because I am a Program Manager for World Vision.
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.