Launching the future of data
By Saumu Juma, Communications Associate, BID Initiative
Oct 2, 2019
Tanzania has made strides in embracing digital platforms within its health system. Health workers, for example, are using defaulter lists from the Tanzania Immunization Registry (TImR) to trace patients who have missed vaccines in the vast Ngorongoro District, which has previously struggled to retain children within immunization programs because of the district’s nomadic communities. Health workers in Tanga are also witnessing firsthand the full advantages of using an exclusively electronic system. And in June, the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children (MOHCDGDEC) and the Immunization and Vaccines Development (IVD) program took another step towards Tanzania’s digital future by retiring its paper-based registries in favor of a fully digital immunization system in Tanga Region.
Earlier this year, Tanzania cemented its commitment to digital by jointly launching a series of Gavi-supported programs that include the Electronic Immunization System (EIS), a mobile application which collects immunization information at the health facility level, auto-generates reports and then sends it to the Vaccines Information Management System (VIMS), and the Cold Chain Equipment Optimization Platform (CCEOP). CCEOP is a program that Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance jointly invested in with countries to purchase and install reliable cold chain equipment that are vital to improved temperature, vaccine safety, and effectiveness. These investments help countries reach more children with life-saving vaccines and protect them against deadly diseases, resulting in increased immunization coverage and greater health equity. The Remote Temperature Monitoring (RTM) Devices are used to monitor the performance of cold chain equipment to maintain safe temperature ranges. In order to maintain vaccine quality, it is essential to monitor the temperature of vaccines throughout the supply chain. Modern temperature monitoring devices are designed to provide both a view of the current storage temperature, as well as a digital record of the temperatures and high-risk events over time.
Though rollout of EIS began back in 2015 and RTM and CCEOP started at the end of 2018, this February marked the official launch of these systems. The successful launch is the result of countless digital champions across Tanzania’s health system.
Honorable Ummy Mwalimu, the Minister of Health, celebrated the country’s progress and reiterated her commitment to using data quality and use interventions to improve immunization service delivery in front of members of the media, government officials, and other stakeholders on February 22, 2019. To express her support for the important role of data quality and use interventions for improving immunization service delivery, the Government of Tanzania has committed to:
- Expediting the scale up of the systems nationally because they have been embraced by health workers at all levels. Scale up will increase the sense of responsibility.
- Increasing the sense of ownership within the health system now that the government officially owns and operates all systems. District and regional mentors support users at the health facility level, ensuring that the whole process is managed by health workers themselves.
Participants included representatives from the BID Initiative, UNICEF, JSI, Nexleaf Analytics, and other MOHCDGEC partners. From within the MOHCDGEC, key guests included the Hon. Ummy Mwalimu, the Director of Preventive Services, Dr. Leonard Subi, the Chief Medical Doctor, Dr. Mohamed Bakari Kambi, and the Manager of Tanzania’s IVD program, Dr. Dafrossa Lyimo.