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Kicking-Off Development of Zambia’s Immunization Registry

By Dawn Seymour, Technical Advisor, BID Initiative

Nov 18, 2015

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Auxillia Mbebe and Sister Mwape of Linda Clinic answer questions from Markus Bekken about clinical workflows and data challenges in immunization. Photo:  Fred Njobvu.

Auxillia Mbebe and Sister Mwape of Linda Clinic answer questions from Markus Bekken about clinical workflows and data challenges in immunization. Photo: Fred Njobvu.

In September 2015, Zambia’s Ministry of Health and the BID Initiative selected the University of Oslo (UiO) as its partner to build a national immunization registry. Recently, members of the Zambia and global BID Initiative teams met with UiO’s technical team to learn more about user requirements for the immunization registry.

The five-day meeting in Livingstone provided an opportunity for the UiO team to better understand the detailed workings of Zambia’s immunization program from the national to community level. Productive discussions engaged key national, provincial, facility, and community-level stakeholders within EPI, as well as global partners working in areas such as birth registration, which touches on immunization data.

Throughout the meeting, we learned about the current landscape of birth registrations, immunizations and reporting in Zambia. Teams also visited four facilities in Livingstone District to walk with and learn from nurses when, where, and how birth registrations occur, immunizations are given, outreach is conducted, and immunization stock is managed at the facility level.

Mulenga Malata of Simoonga Clinic explains to Markus Bekken of UiO what immunization data nurses capture in the child health card. Photo: Fred Njobvu.

Mulenga Malata of Simoonga Clinic explains to Markus Bekken of UiO what immunization data nurses capture in the child health card. Photo: Fred Njobvu.

Meeting attendees also began developing user stories based on where they participate in the health system: national, provincial, district, and facility. These user stories break down the requirements into the smallest functionalities for developers to understand what various participants in immunization–caregivers, nurses, data managers–need from the registry.

Each group worked to fill in the blanks for a standard narrative: As a [insert role such as provider] I want to [function] so that I can [list of benefits]. One story read, “As a facility health worker I want to work with a centralized registry that contains only one record per child so that I can access complete and updated information for each child, even if they received services in another facility.” Another person wrote, “As a health manager I want to have access to a dashboard that is tailored to my information needs so that I can give better feedback to my health facilities.”

The kick-off meeting now sets in motion system development for the immunization registry. The process will include a shared road map with two-week sprints of focused work to build the user requirements into the registry. Several showcases will happen along the way for users to view, test, and provide feedback on the registry. A beta version of the immunization registry is slated for rollout in the Southern Province Q2 2016.

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