During the March round of National Immunization Plus Days (NIPD), eHealth Africa (eHA) provided vaccinator tracking support to ten southern states in Nigeria: Cross River, Bayelsa, Edo, Ondo, Oyo, Osun, Ogun, Lagos, Ekiti, and Delta. In May, eHA took part in the state-level IPD in 24 Local Government Areas (LGAs) in three of Nigeria’s northern states (Bauchi, Katsina, Kano).
The May IPD campaign took place from May 14-17. Our field officers were on the ground in 24 LGAs providing technical support for the vaccinator tracking activity. Every IPD campaign is different and, as usual, the May campaign presented a variety of new experiences and challenges for our vaccinator tracking teams.
One of the issues faced was the distance from the campaign takeoff point office to the ward settlements where the vaccination teams traveled for daily house-to-house visits. Many wards were 4-5 hours away from the base office in the respective LGAs. As a result, some teams could not return their phone trackers on a daily basis as intended. This caused a delay in the uploading of geographic “tracks” from the the team’s phones onto our server. Consequently, daily field results (via dashboard visualization) were only able to be reviewed at the end of the campaign by stakeholders, as opposed to on a daily basis at campaign evening review meetings. This was especially the case for several LGAs in Bauchi and Yobe state.
Poor network issues also made it difficult for our staff to upload data in a timely manner to the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) dashboard in the states they were based. This issue was mainly experienced in Yobe state areas including Fika, Jakusko, and Machina LGAs. Another key issue was security problems in several locations due to insurgency threats and political unrest, notably in Yobe state.
After encountering and overcoming the above-mentioned challenges, we are glad to report that our eHA field officers successfully conducted vaccinator tracking activities for the May IPD campaign. We were able to get valid recordings of the geographic coverage achieved by the vaccination teams for each LGA supported. We look forward to the upcoming campaign in October, and remain committed to aiding the nation in achieving its goal of receiving the certification of eradication of polio from WHO in 2017.