Data Flow of the System
The following diagrammatic representation mapped out how the existing data flows would ideally integrate with the disease surveillance and community response dashboards of EPiC.
Key Insights From the Pilot
The following were they key insights that were gained from the pilot, which are relevant for any data driven initiative that is aimed at improving the service delivery of a critical public sector entity in a post conflict economy such as that of Sierra Leone.
1.Data visualization and intelligence is the end product of a value chain that involves several pre-requisite activities, and any data visualization tool should support this entire value chain
Although the data intelligence and visualisation functionalities related to disease surveillance would greatly help any under funded national health unit, data visualisation is in fact a minor component in the chain of activities carried out by surveillance officers. The system should have provided the users with functionalities for directly uploading, verifying and sharing the raw data that was used by the platform to generate intelligence and reports.
2.A strong stakeholder engagement strategy is critical for the successful adoption of any technological intervention in the public sector
For the successful, eventual roll out of any national disease surveillance system , stakeholder buy-in is of utmost importance. Over the course of the trainings conducted at the DHMT, low priority was afforded to the exercise by the top management of the DHMT, with individuals dedicated to the exercise being low-level employees with limited understanding of the entire value chain of infectious disease surveillance that EPIC aimed to support.Given the alarming rate of failed technological interventions in post conflict countries such as Sierra Leone, effective user adoption is by far the biggest risk to the long term survival of the platform.
3.Downloadable, printable copies of reports is important in a “paper based” low digital literacy context like Sierra Leone
Owing to the “paper based” culture that is prevalent across governmental departments in developing countries, any system must allow for easy printing of all reports generated by the users.