A regional data platform to improve immunization coverage in the Asia-Pacific region
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and UNICEF are joining forces by accelerating Innovation for strengthening Vaccination Systems -- starting with better collection and use of critical data. UNICEF’s Innovation Fund is supporting eight grant recipients of the Gates Foundation’s Grand Challenges Explorations Round 22 with its cutting edge piloting and scaling methodologies and tools. Read more from Grant Recipient Tupaia, below.
Tupaia is a multi-country platform working to map health systems in the Asia Pacific region, strengthen services and help governments fairly distribute resources. Tupaia is currently implemented in Solomon Islands, Tonga, Kiribati, Tokelau, Vanuatu and the Cook Islands.
Immunization coverage in the Asia-Pacific Region
Governments and donors in low-resource settings lack reliable, up-to-date data on their health systems. What data is available is often siloed in specialised software designed for specific purposes. In addition to systems that do not speak to each other, there are often multiple sources of data that aren’t easily integrated, resulting in an incomplete picture.
Tupaia is addressing this problem by aggregating complex datasets and presenting them in pre-configured, easily navigable map overlays and dashboards that are customisable for a variety of user groups and available in real-time.
The aim of Tupaia is to expand the functionality of an existing regional health-systems data platform to show real-time immunization coverage and to identify areas to improve vaccine program effectiveness.
Tupaia is built on an open-source architecture, and already aggregates and analyses live data from multiple sources, including supply chain software for vaccines and other medicines, health information software, and data collection applications. Incoming information contains information about health infrastructure including cold-chain, critical medical equipment, staff, and service provision.
The platform displays data in real-time with operationally-relevant graphical outputs on a web-based dashboard. This project will tailor the functionality of this platform to provide real-time vaccination monitoring and support effective data management that is customised to the specific needs of local vaccine-program stakeholders.
Solution in Action
During 2018 there was a delay receiving a supplier order for cold chain medicines in Kiribati. As a result, a busy facility on South Tarawa ran out of several items, including insulin and Hepatitis B vaccine. The facility nurse was able to log on to Tupaia and instantly see which nearby facilities had a functioning fridge and stock of the medicines they needed. Following a simple exchange with a clinician at another facility via Telegram, an instant messaging application installed on the nurse’s tablet computer, the nurse was able to organise supplementary stock to arrive with minimal delay or interruption to her normal practice caring for patients.
Team & Diversity
The idea for our project grew between a few passionate pharmacists working in Pacific Island Countries who had a shared frustration around the lack of information about the availability of medicines at health facilities beyond the National level. By working with equally passionate software developers, we were able to bring a simple idea to improve visibility around medicines availability to reality using the latest in innovative technology.
Since our inception, our team has grown to include a variety of staff with varying backgrounds and based in a variety of locations, from Melbourne, Australia, to Tonga in the Pacific, to Cote D'Ivoire in West Africa!
Our grass roots development means we never lose sight of our ultimate goal; to make work easier and more effective for health staff at the coal face, so that they can give the best care to the wonderful people of the Pacific Islands.
The Way Ahead
We’re constantly working with the countries we work in to create solutions to existing problems and we hope that Beyond Essential Systems will continue to grow and be shaped by the needs of local communities. We see our strengths extending beyond supply chain management to work with and incorporate wider data sources. In fact, at the moment we are working with countries in the region to develop a personalised electronic medical record system called Tamanu. Like Tupaia, Tamanu is being built for the Pacific environment, with offline capabilities, simple to use interfaces and the ability to easily integrate with other systems (e.g. Tupaia, DHIS2, LMIS etc). We have listened to local needs and feel that Tamanu is going to be the best thing since… well… Tupaia!