Towards Integrated Immunization Data in Kenya’s Health Management

Prof. Wanjiru Wanyoike, Director Gender Directorate JKUAT represented Vice Chancellor JKUAT at the KeNVIP inception workshop

Jomo Kenyatta University and Technology in collaboration with the National Vaccine Immunization Program (NVIP) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has embarked on a one-year project dubbed, KeNVIP that aims to develop, test, and maintain an integrated immunization data repository and dashboard for decision-making.

The project’s goal is to integrate multiple sources of data and web/mobile applications hosted by NVIP partners, thereby centralize and standardize Kenya’s vaccine and immunization data, as well as provide a comprehensive logistics management information system.

This will in turn strengthen the National Vaccine and Immunization Program information systems and allow for better data management and use for effective planning and timely decision making in the public health sector.

During the inception workshop held on August 4-5, 2022 in Nairobi, the JKUAT Vice Chancellor, Prof. Victoria Wambui Ngumi, described the project as “a means of optimizing NVIP’s mandate through data management, thus resulting in improved visibility, transparency, accountability, traceability, and efficiency in vaccine service delivery.” The Vice chancellor said in remarks read on her behalf by Prof. Wanjiru Wanyoike.

Dr. Lucy Mecca, Head of NVIP

On her part, the Head of NVIP, Dr. Lucy Mecca explained the need to integrate the different systems related to the management of vaccines and immunization programs in the country, supported by different development partners. She added that digital solutions play a crucial role in health as evidenced by the required constant updates on COVID 19.

According to Dr Collins Tabu, Head of Kenya’s National Vaccines and Immunization Programme, new vaccines are expensive, with budgets exceeding Ksh. 8 billion, necessitating improved traceability.

“For this to happen seamlessly, we must have a robust group of visionary thinkers and knowledge management experts to manage this system. JKUAT was selected because of the need for sustainability beyond the initial funding of the project, a herculean task we believe they can manage” said Dr. Tabu.

The workshop served as an opportunity for all stakeholders to achieve a common understanding of various areas such as the functional requirements of the data repository and dashboard, identification of data sources, integration and interoperability for NVIP support systems and applications (e.g. Chanjo), and understand the plan of action and timeline for implementing the project.

The workshop also discussed user requirements, an exercise that involved breakout sessions based on five thematic areas that included communication and advocacy, supply chain and safety, monitoring and evaluation, training and capacity building, as well as governance.

These five areas served as a preliminary reference point for identifying the processes that generate data for the repository on a daily basis.

The JKUAT team, led by Prof. Joseph Wafula, presented an overview of the project’s objectives to enable all stakeholders understand and provide feedback on the proposed system to ensure a smooth transition and adoption upon implementation.

“This project is an opportunity for JKUAT to give back to our country and therefore we are benchmarking it with the best of standards,” said Prof. Wafula, who is also the Chair for Committee for Data for Science and Technology (CODATA) Kenya.

In their presentation, Prof. Stephen Kimani and Dr. Agnes Mindila both from School of Computing JKUAT, demonstrated how the dashboard will provide on-demand visibility and insightful up-to-date information on data categories such as immunization supply chain which includes vaccine supply chain, distribution and outreach, among others.

This will enable the instant tracking of the progress in targeted efforts like campaigns and prioritize areas of action such as averting expiry of massive stocks of vaccines, among other functions, providing analytics that can generate real-time reports to enhance strategic regular decision-making and reduce the administrative burden to the country.

UNICEF awarded JKUAT a one-year consultancy starting July 1, 2022 to implement KeNVIP because of the university’s familiarity with the immunization programme needs.

JKUAT has so far offered support to the project by allocating a dedicated and secured physical server-room space for computer servers for KeNVIP, facilitating reliable internet connectivity via high-speed optic fiber LAN that is secure, fast, reliable which has dedicated broadband internet services provided by KENET.

Present during the workshop were experts drawn from UNICEF, NVIP, Ministry of Health, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), among others. Other experts in the JKUAT team included Dr. Mwella Namasaka (School of Medicine) and Mr. Bernard Sabwa, a Computing Technology expert.

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