Nwabisa Pulumo works for the Ehlanzeni district municipality in Mpumalanga, South Africa, as the GIS manager. “At the outbreak of the pandemic, a command centre was set up to ensure coordination amongst stakeholders and departments at district and provincial levels. I needed to provide information on where COVID-19 cases were and how the virus would move.
“However, my team of three GIS staff members was working from home and did not have sufficient data or the right working tools to provide the information we desperately needed to plan the response. Having never dealt with a situation like this before, we also did not have analytics or GIS mapping capabilities.”
Nwabisa first met Right to Care’s GIS team at a provincial meeting in May. “I instantly realised that they could provide analyses of the virus’s movement. I started working with Thomas Crompton, head of department for strategic information analytics at Right to Care, on analysing statistics, mapping cases and hotspots and developing projections. As GIS specialists, we spoke the same language.
“I was able to take information that I would never have been able to produce myself to the command centre and other regional and district structures. It informed the interventions that were implemented to limit the spread of COVID-19 in the district and the province,” she says.
“Right to Care also provided mobility data which allowed us to understand the movement of people and emerging hotspots.”
Crompton adds, “We also supported Nwabisa with capacity building and training. This included training data capturers on how to accurately capture information which is pivotal for making the right decisions.”
“Without Right to Care, our work would have been difficult and our COVID-19 response compromised. Tom and his team were available 24-7. The command centre was able to ask for deeper analyses, knowing it would be sent quickly,” says Nwabisa.