Malaria transmission across the E8 is inextricably linked; it is thus not only a national problem, but a regional problem requiring an understanding of the transmission dynamics that define the region. Both national and regional responses must be based on a regional picture, enabling the use of regional data to inform the more effective targeting of interventions at the local level. For example, continued investment in prevention in a community which serves as a recipient or a sink of malaria importation from another highly endemic source provides limited value; rather, it may be more effective to target the more highly endemic “source,” which is often located outside the country, and which is connected through human population movement. Such an approach therefore requires “regional intelligence” and the development of a regional picture of malaria transmission patterns. Poor data quality and variation of surveillance information across the region also limits the ability to track regional trends, which is critical for designing appropriate programming, both at the country level as well as the regional level.
The E8 regional surveillance database aggregates malaria data from the eight countries, supporting robust analysis and feedback of regional transmission patterns and intervention coverage, thus informing more effective strategic planning and response by the national malaria programmes. The effort involves ongoing efforts to harmonize reporting indicators and definitions, allowing increasing integration and joint spatial analysis of the region’s intelligence on malaria transmission.
DHIS2 is increasingly becoming a common platform for health systems reporting in the E8 Region, and therefore the regional database was designed and developed on the same software to facilitate data sharing across the countries, and to provide programs and surveillance personnel with familiar technology and reporting dashboards.
The regional surveillance report is not a parallel system, but simply uses and builds on existing surveillance variables collected through the E8 countries. The E8 regional malaria surveillance platform does not require the collection of any new variables and therefore no modification of countries surveillance systems is required.
E8 malaria programmes are able to access the database, and to use the following features of the platform:
- Viewing of monthly/weekly and district malaria data from other countries
- Trend analysis of standard malaria morbidity and mortality data from the countries, at different administrative levels, and disaggregated according to age
- Visualization of temporal trends; these include comparative analysis of disease information for multiple units (i.e. districts, countries, region)
E8 Regional DHIS2 collates monthly or weekly data at District level. The E8 is built on this initial report, prioritizing the strengthening of national surveillance, further harmonization of indicators, and developing mechanisms for continuous monitoring and feedback through this platform.