How Dimagi is Helping to Eliminate Malaria

July 2, 2019

In 2017, there were 219 million new cases of malaria, resulting in 435,000 deaths. But there is hope in this fight. Armed with over $3 billion in total funding for malaria control and elimination, programs all over the world are working to reduce contraction and mortality rates associated with the disease. Recently, a genetically modified fungus garnered some positive press for killing 99% of mosquitos in its trials. And that’s after the announcement of a new malaria vaccine that has been over 30 years in the making.

At Dimagi, we are using our expertise and resources to help in these efforts. We are proud to work with many organizations looking to continue the fight against malaria, each taking a different approach to tackle the disease:

Frontline workers review results from their anti-malaria program supported by the DSME.

Digital Solutions for Malaria Elimination (DSME)

Dimagi has been involved with the DSME Community of Practice since May 2017. The community represents a diverse set of stakeholders who are committed to leveraging their resources toward the elimination of malaria. On monthly calls, a representative from our Global Services team works with implementation focal points at other tech organizations and NGOs to review and refine a common set of best practices and guidance materials to help National Malaria Control Programs and Ministries of Health on their own programs, answering frequently asked questions and supporting field-based troubleshooting. Leveraging their experience on similar implementation programs, the collective community is able to support and ensure the dissemination of lessons learned and foster collaboration within the DSME community.


PMI VectorLink

Since 2017, we have been working with Abt Associates to implement the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) VectorLink Project, a program that aims to reduce the burden of malaria in 25 countries through robust entomological monitoring and vector control, such as insecticide-treated nets (ITNs) and indoor residual spray (IRS) campaigns. This initiative follows our initial collaboration from 2013-2017 under the PMI Africa Indoor Residual Spraying Project (PMI AIRS), which was also implemented by Abt Associates.

Our PMI VectorLink initiatives are supported by four CommCare workstreams ensuring the safe and effective implementation of spray campaigns. These include:

  1. Broadcast messages push for behavior change and to share key campaign updates
  2. Structured SMS reporting on daily spray progress from field-based implementation teams
  3. A CommCare application digitizes a supervisory checklist to ensure proper support and monitoring of field-based teams
  4. Custom daily reports are sent to country-based administrators for monitoring the campaign’s overall effectiveness and compliance with key safety protocols.

The most rewarding aspect of this partnership for us is the meaningful relationships we have developed with all of the countries where we collaborate and drive forward these implementation efforts. The in-country capacity these programs have built to independently lead the implementation of these tools and promote data-driven decision-making shows us that every community can fight back, and we learn from these end-users every day. In fact, many of CommCare’s features have been enhanced based on feedback from VectorLink users over the years.

An indoor residual spray worker inputs their status to her CommCare app

Bill & Melinda Gates Grand Challenges Malaria Initiative

Recently, we worked with a predictive analytics platform to support national malaria control programs in the Gambia and Senegal. Rather than design a CommCare app, we used data collected by CommCare and integrated Ilkrea’s geospatial data to predict the location of border villages and households that would be covered by malaria surveillance and intervention work. The initiative has led to further discussion around the use of technology for cross-border malaria surveillance, and we believe the possibility of running much more targeted interventions based on this program’s insights will help the Gambia and Senegal reach their malaria pre-elimination certification goals in 2020 as well as their full-elimination goals by 2030.


Senegal’s National Malaria Control Program (PNLP)

Starting in 2015, we worked with Senegal’s Ministry of Health to support their national malaria control program. Our support consisted of three components of CommCare: (1) an application for nurses and clinic administrators to track the stock of 10 anti-malarial products on a weekly basis, (2) SMS messaging support for malaria surveillance and reporting, and (3) weekly reports of aggregated data on malaria cases to Ministry of Health officials. These efforts have led to continued digital support of the Ministry of Health’s active community-based approach to malaria management in Senegal. The initiative also received critical support from the Peace Corps, who were available on the grown to provide training and technical support to nurses and administrators.

A group of community health workers attend a training for their mobile data collection app to fight malaria.

Malaria Zero

Today, Haiti suffers from the highest number of malaria cases in the Caribbean. In response, a host of organizations, including the CDC, the Ministry of Public Health of Haiti, and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine helped form Malaria Zero, a Haiti-based program aimed at the treatment and prevention of Malaria in local communities. Field teams use CommCare in a mass treatment campaign, delivering services to each household in an identified target area. The application serves as a job aid for frontline workers, helping them to determine correct dosages of anti-malaria medication for family members in the households at risk of or suffering from malaria. This program aims to target malaria hot zones on the island, and specific efforts are being made this year to relieve the burden on the data management team and improving the potential for actionable insights to be drawn from the captured datasets.

To learn more about how Dimagi and CommCare can help with disease treatment initiatives around the world, visit our sector summary on Disease Treatment.

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