Healthcare managers and technical teams working on the ground in Zambia have moved away from manual excel spreadsheets and are using a new Zambia Covid-19 dashboard to access live information about Covid-19 in districts and provinces across the country. With real-time data at their fingertips, they are ensuring that responses to the pandemic are quick and targeted.
In the face of the Covid-19 crisis, the health system in Zambia was facing challenges around information management. Covid-19 data was being pulled from manual data and excel spreadsheets.
The new Zambia Covid-19 dashboard provides data around the clock showing affected districts, total confirmed cases, total cases recovered, case fatalities, recovery rates, total tests conducted, new cases and active cases. It shows daily, weekly and monthly trends across districts and regions, and supports the management of Covid-19 from both the clinical (care) and laboratory (testing) perspectives.
The dashboard allows healthcare teams to react swiftly and precisely and hone in on hotspot areas. It is set to bolster the Zambian government’s Covid-19 response.
The then, Zambian Minister of Health, Dr Chitalu Chilufya, underscored the importance of data in ensuring a timeous and effective response to the Covid-19 pandemic. He said that the Zambia Covid-19 dashboard will inform technical and policy decisions in Zambia while promoting data transparency, data decision-making and accountability.
As well the healthcare sector, the dashboard is also available to other government departments that are central to the Covid-19 response.
As of 25 September 2020, Zambia had recorded 14,443 cumulative Covid-19 cases, 13,529 recoveries, 111 Covid-19 deaths, 217 Covid-19 associated deaths and 482 active cases. A total of 148,056 tests had been conducted.
Prof. Victor Mukonka, director of the Zambia National Public Health Institute (ZNPHI), believes that, “Dashboard utilisation promotes data transparency, better decision-making and accountability. The provision of accurate information will also translate into positive behavioural change.”
The Zambia Covid-19 dashboard is available to technical teams and managers through an App. It also feeds relevant information to a public facing version of the App that sits on the Zambian health ministry’s website and its social media platforms. The public facing dashboard provides a summary of the key statistics across the Covid-19 cascade. These include laboratory specimens collected and tested, confirmed cases, patients that have recovered, deaths, as well as key ratios on fatalities, test positivity and recoveries.
The Zambia Covid-19 dashboard was developed by Right to Care’s (RTC) Geographic Information System (GIS) and planning unit in partnership with the ZNPHI and with support from USAID. The former, Minister Chitalu Chilufya launched the new platform in Lusaka on Thursday 25 September 2020.