The Enugu The state government says it will suck up the use of the electronic collection to improve the quality of routine immunization data and other health indicators in the state.
dr. George Ugwu, executive secretary of Enugu State Primary Health Care Development Agency (ENS-PHCDA), said this Wednesday in Enugu during a co-creation workshop with immunization stakeholders on electronic collection and transmission of immunization data.
The sub-theme of the workshop was “Assessment of the use of mobile electronic means in the recording and transmission of immunization data using the Open Data Kit (ODK) in Enugu State, Nigeria”.
Ugwu noted that electronic collection of routine immunization data would make the data reliable and provide policymakers with accurate information for effective planning of routine immunizations and other health issues.
He said: “The agency is not only doing its routine work, but is also doing research to find better ways to do our work.
“We were fortunate to be selected to conduct routine immunization data collection research funded by the World Health Organization and the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), a special health research group.
“The research, to be carried out in the pilot phase, is to find out how we can make the collection of immunization data and its transfer better and more impactful.
“So that henceforth, all of the data collected can be critical to decision-making and help our policymakers make bold and growth decisions about routine immunization and other health issues.
“It will help us know how many vaccines are needed, who and who have been immunized at what time and place, and with accurate recording, improving data quality and ease of transmission.”
Ugwu said the agency is considering electronic data collection and real-time transmission from locations to a central server at the agency’s headquarters in Enugu in the near future.
“This move will also save us time, transportation costs and human intervention, and give us accurate quality assurance of the data being sent in real time,” he said.
Earlier, Prof. Benjamin Uzochukwu, lead mentor in the program, said the research team wanted to deepen the discussion among immunization data collection officials to see the feasibility of improving data collection electronically.
Uzochukwu, professor of medicine at UNN, said: “We are here to guide you and see that you understand the essence of migrating from the analog to the digital space of your work.
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“If we all use the electronic or digital means to collect and transfer our data, there will be many benefits for all stakeholders, including you, the program implementers,” he said.
Uche Ezema, head of state in monitoring and evaluation at the agency, said a total of 25 routine data collection officials within the local government and state level participated in the workshop.
Ezema said the training workshop was designed on a train-the-trainer basis.
He said the Open Data Kit (ODK) software would be made available to those piloting the program in a number of selected municipal areas.
“A total of 60 Primary Health Care (PHC) centers will be used for the pilot program and they have been selected from six municipal areas, namely: Nsukka, Igboze South, Udi, Awgu, Nkanu East and Enugu East.
“They were selected based on two council areas from each of the three senate districts in the state.
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“We have Nsukka and Igboze South council areas for Enugu North Senatorial District; Udi and Agwu council areas for Enugu West Senatorial District as well as Nkanu East and Enugu East for Enugu East Senatorial District,” he said.
Ezema said the agency would support program participants by installing the ODK software on their Android mobile phones/Internet devices and money to routinely purchase data.
A workshop participant, Ify Ani, said the workshop had informed her about the benefits of electronic data collection.
Ani said the benefits included saving time, reliability and eliminating the cost of physical document transportation from one point to another.