The Agile DHIS2 - adaptive solutions for COVID-19 surveillance in Ethiopia

Subject:- The Agile DHIS2 - adaptive solutions for COVID-19 surveillance in Ethiopia
Date and Time:- Tuesday 22 June13:00 CEST
Presenters:- Seid Hussein, Melaeke Serawit, Abyot Asalefew Gizaw - HISP Ethiopia
Link:- The Digital DHIS2 Annual Conference: DHIS2 and the Global COVID-19 Response

Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is a taskforce established by Ethiopian Public Health Institution to tackle COVID-19 pandemic. The taskforce is composed of rapid response, case management, rumor handling, sample collection, testing, awareness raising and digitization teams. The key task of the digitization team, where HISP Ethiopia is at the center, is to evaluate, customize, develop and implement COVID-19 surveillance tools that assist EOC teams.

With fullbacking by the Ministry leadership, DHIS2 Tracker was selected as the main platform for COVID-19 surveillance. Tracker was used to manage: case registration, sample collection, result notification, admission and discharge routines. However, standard Tracker functionalities were not enough to address needs demanded by the taskforce. For example, one of the biggest challenges the taskforce faced was entering bulk test data that was conducted through campaigns. Entering each test result that comes from testing labs by searching for a TEI, opening dashboard, creating new event and then editing values was a cumbersome process not suitable during emergency. To alleviate this, the digitization team developed a custom laboratory reception app. The app allows lab ‚Äúreceptionists‚ÄĚ to accept batch tests from sample collection teams, link each test with orgunit, program, TEI and matching barcode. Next time the test result is ready, users simply scan the barcode and the system automatically picks and updates the required event. This helped a lot in reducing workload, test response turnaround time and improving data quality.

Additional apps developed by the team were:

  1. Middle layer app: app that links and updates result status obtained from event data to TEI attribute data
  2. Custom import/export app: allowing users to export data to a particular excel template considered familiar and useful to their work practice
  3. SMS notification: app used to notify negative test result to individuals as well as daily summary to leadership including the Minister
  4. Certificate app: public facing portal app where interested parties can check validity of travellers certificate using a QR code
  5. Integration with third party systems such as Home-based Intensive Care (HIC) and PCR machine

These apps were crucial in the fight against the pandemic and greatly simplified the work of the EOC taskforce teams. The apps, and their ever-changing requirements, also tested the resolve of HISP Ethiopia team. It is almost impossible to think the success of these apps without the role of HISP Ethiopia and this we think is a testament on the role of local teams and local innovations in addressing local problems. At the same time, this serves us as a reminder on the importance of strengthening local teams.


Video session can be found here: