Jeff Bernson, Chief Data Officer
Since 2005, PATH has supported the government of Zambia in its efforts to eliminate malaria, a deadly disease that kills a child every other minute across Africa. Zambia is a leader in the fight against malaria and has a long history of robust data collection, but fragmented electronic data systems, inefficient, paper-based systems, inconsistent reporting, and gaps in data literacy create issues that have made it difficult for public health officials to put their data to use.
Visualize No Malaria—an innovative initiative that brings together the government of Zambia, the private sector, and PATH’s global health expertise—was formed in 2015 to address gaps and improve data management, analysis, reporting, and feedback loops. Eight tech partners—Alteryx, DataBlick, DigitalGlobe, Exasol, Mapbox, Slalom, Tableau, and Twilio—contribute a suite of best-in-class tools that easily integrate with the existing national surveillance system and enable health workers to systematically analyze their data via user-friendly dashboards. These dashboards enable decision-makers at all levels of the health system to make data-informed decisions in real time about where to deploy lifesaving resources, ensuring bed nets reach the right places at the right times and medications don’t expire on the shelf.
In Zambia’s Southern Province, smart use of data, combined with other interventions, has resulted in a dramatic 92% decline in malaria-related deaths and an 85% decline in malaria cases in three years. With this package of best-in-class tools, data can also be combined to create algorithms predicting where malaria cases emerge, which will enable health workers to track and treat incidents faster. The potential impact of this innovative initiative extends beyond malaria elimination in Zambia: Now, the Visualize No Malaria initiative is committed not only to expanding and scaling malaria elimination efforts to other countries, but also to applying the model to tackle other health areas.