The Enugu State Government says it will imbibe the use of electronic collection to improve its routine immunisation date quality as well as other health indicators in the state.
Dr George Ugwu, Executive Secretary of Enugu State Primary Health Care Development Agency (ENS-PHCDA) said this on Wednesday in Enugu at a Co-creation Workshop with Immunisation Stakeholders on electronic collection and transmission of immunisation data in the state.
The workshop was sub-themed: “Assessing the Use of Mobile Electronic Means in the Capture and Transmission of Immunisation Data Using the Open Data Kit (ODK) in Enugu State, Nigeria’’.
Ugwu noted that electronic collection of routine immunisation data would make the data reliable and give policy makers accurate information for effective planning of routine immunizations and other health issues.
He said: “The agency is not only doing its routine work but also carrying out research to find out better ways of doing our work.
“We were lucky to be selected to carry out research on routine immunisation data collection being funded by the World Health Organisation and through the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) special research group on health.
“The research, to be carried out at pilot stage, is to find out how we can make the collection of immunisation data and its transmission to be better and of more impact.
“So that henceforth, all collected data can be key to decision making and help our policy makers to take impactful and growth decision on routine immunisation and other health issues
“It will help us to know the quantity of vaccines required, who and who had been immunised, at what time, place and having accurate recording; thus improving the quality of data and ease of transmission”.
Ugwu said that the agency was envisaging electronic collection of data and real-time transmission from localities to a central server in the agency’s headquarters in Enugu in the near future.
“This move will also save us time, cost of transportation and human interference as well as give us accurate quality assurance on the data being transmitted in real-time,” he said.
Earlier, Prof. Benjamin Uzochukwu, Lead Mentor in the programme, said that the research team wanted to deepen the discussion among immunisation data collection officers to see the practicability of improving the data collection electronically.
Uzochukwu, who is a Professor of Medicine in UNN, said: “We are here to mentor you and see that you understand the essence of the migration from the analog to the digital space of your work.
“If we all imbibe the electronic or digital means of doing our data collection and transmission; it will be lots of benefits to all stakeholders including you the programme implementers,’’ he said.
Mr Uche Ezema, State Lead in Monitoring and Evaluation in the agency, said that a total of 25 routine data collection officers within local government and state levels are participating in the workshop.
Ezema said that the training workshop had been designed on a train-the-trainer basis.
He said that the Open Data Kit (ODK) software would be made available for those running the pilot of the programme in some selected council areas.
“A total of 60 Primary Health Care (PHC) centres will be used for the pilot programme and they are selected from six council areas namely: Nsukka, Igboeze South, Udi, Awgu, Nkanu East and Enugu East.
“They were selected on the basis of two council areas from each of the three senatorial districts in the state.
“We have Nsukka and Igboeze 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 that the agency would support the participants in the programme through installing the ODK software in their android cell-phone/internet-enabled devices and money for buying data routinely.
A participant at the workshop, Mrs Ify Ani, said that the workshop had enlightened her on the benefits of electronic collection of data.
Ani said that the benefits included: time saving, reliability and elimination of cost of physical document transportation from one point to another.