Low and Middle Income Countries (LMICs) are currently racing to establish digital systems to handle their first cases of COVID-19 and prepare for the onset of the pandemic in their populations. In March, the Zambian National Health Institute (ZNPI) requested assistance in evaluating the DHIS2 COVID-19 app, developed originally by the Sri Lankan Ministry of Health (MOH).  

The Response 

eSHIFT, in collaboration with the Software for Health Foundation and Blue Frontier, immediately responded by forming the AoS Health COVID-19 Task force. Within days the DHIS2 COVID-19 app had been evaluated and the decision made to deploy.

Over the following 2 weeks the Task Force, in collaboration with ZNPHI, launched Version 1 of the service. Version 1.1 is in development. This rapid deployment was made possible because the Task Force was able to leverage the existing AoS Health AMR platform infrastructure in Zambia.

The opportunity still exists for MOH’s to rapidly adopt this system in order to provide a digital option to manage the full life cycle of this crisis. 

The Solution 

The solution established in Zambia represents a full End to End (E2E) mobile health service consisting of technology, customisations, connectivity, support and a framework for continuous improvements. The system is currently being used in reference laboratories and containment facilities and will be rolling out to an additional 24 hospital sites and ports of entry (circa 150 tablets in the next tranche). The ministry further plans to expand use of this infrastructure to future electronic integrated disease and response (eIDSR) efforts.

Version 1 of the Zambia COVID-19 Case and Contract Tracing System was launched on the 1st of April 2020. It includes the following:

  • DHIS2 instance with customised COVID-19 app - the Zambia facilities tree and user/permissions model.  Case management and contact management web and mobile applications customised to include health monitoring and treatment tracking of hospitalised cases. 
  • Mobile deployments - to reference laboratories and selected health facilities
  • QA and Operations - a QA function to assure quality of end product, including new feature testing and protection against regression.  System monitoring and alerting including help desk and follow the sun 3rd level support.

V1.1 is in development and includes:

  • Interoperability - loading of historical contract tracing data and ports of entry data from previous systems
  • Inclusion of DHIS2 Port of Entry app – currently being customised and tested 
  • Options for provisioning tablets using Mobile Device Management profiles (using Miradore.com technology)  

Support, maintenance and reuse of materials

  • Provide ‘follow the sun’ operations and support to ensure system continuity including personnel resident in New Zealand. 
  • Share insights, experiences, bug fixes, FAQ’s and desktop aids from other existing deployments and other ongoing developments. 

About the AoS Health COVID-19 Task Force 

AoS Health combines the experience, knowhow and technical resources of eSHIFT, Blue Frontier and the Software for Health Foundation in order to provide a comprehensive digital health services.

The AoS Health COVID-19 Task Force currently consists of the AoS Health group and volunteers from other individuals organised to exploit AoS Health assets and methods to assist, when possible, in COVID-19 interventions. The task force has been put in place primarily to service the needs of ZNPHI.  The ambition is to assist other countries by sharing materials including the option to rapidly deploy the Zambia systems as starting place for other MoHs to establish a digital response.