PANDEMIC EMERGENCY: The use of technology in the fight against endemic and epidemic diseases.

Published: 20/09/2023

The activities of entering the vaccination data of children born from 1st January 2021 in the municipality of Itaosy, on the outskirts of Antananarivo in Madagascar, continue in the computer database of the basic health center 2 of the municipality.

These activities are part of a larger project to support the basic health centers of the municipality on the outskirts of the capital with the aim of increasing and improving the centers' ability to respond to the health needs of the population.

Madagascar is cyclically subject to epidemics such as plague and measles which cause thousands of deaths - just think that the country accounts for 75% of global cases of plague reported by the WHO - and furthermore diseases such as poliomyelitis and tetanus are very widespread to which the local health systems can hardly provide an adequate response; for this reason it is essential to intervene in advance by strengthening the vaccination system.

The creation and use of an IT database allows health personnel to streamline the archiving practices of children's health data and, consequently, integrate and update national statistics more easily. Furthermore, the availability of the vaccination booklet in "digital" format is an important key to innovation in the local context since it supports the paper "yellow booklet" which is delivered to families at the time of the child's first vaccination but which often gets damaged, dirty, breaks or more simply gets lost, thus losing the child's vaccination history which will therefore have to be based on the memories of family members, when available, leaving ample room for gaps and errors. This problematic situation exposes children to all those endemic and epidemic diseases from which, with a correct and complete vaccination cycle, they would be protected. Thanks to digital archiving, there is always a record of the vaccinations a child has undergone, therefore, even if the paper booklet is no longer available, it is always possible for the health personnel of the center to check any necessary recalls and promptly inform the families.

The NutriAid staff is therefore alongside the local staff, supporting them in the digitization of data, through dedicated IT and health training and by providing computers and all the necessary materials.

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