In Africa, malaria kills a child every other minute.
For the past decade, PATH has partnered with the Government of Zambia to control and eliminate the disease. In 2015, they gained a new ally in the fight—data. PATH teamed up with the Tableau Foundation to launch Visualize No Malaria—an initiative focused on integrating new tools and systems for data use to support Zambia’s Ministry of Health in their effort to bring the malaria incidence rate down to zero.
“ To identify and treat every last case of malaria, we must be able to target communities where the parasite is hiding—and see accurate, reliable data that tracks emerging transmission patterns is the flashlight. ”— Jeff Bernson, Chief Data Officer, PATH
Working together to bring real-time data to the frontlines
At the heart of the program is data—in the right hands of the right people at the right time. When someone shows symptoms of malaria, it’s a good bet that their family, friends, and neighbors are also carrying the parasite.
Led by a group of data experts volunteering their time and talents, we have developed operational dashboards that help district health personnel understand where, when, and how to intervene. This means ensuring bednets are installed when needed, homes are cleared of mosquitoes during high risk periods, and expensive medications don’t expire on the shelf.
To scale our success, we recognized the need for additional technology solutions, including location insights and satellite imagery, automated workflow for data analytics, cloud-based communication capabilities, high-speed database solutions, storage services, and expertise in enhancing user experience
Designing side by side with Zambian health officials, the partners identified different opportunities to innovate and integrate new technologies into the system. Visualize No Malaria now includes eight technology and services companies all working together toward a shared goal—eliminating malaria once and for all.
Beyond malaria: visualize health intelligence.
In Zambia’s Southern Province, smart use of data resulted in a dramatic 92 percent decline in malaria-related deaths. Armed with data literacy and new tools, more than 3,200 frontline health workers now provide high-quality community care and serve as the foundation of Zambia’s malaria surveillance system.
Marianne Soko, a 30-year-old environmental health officer in the district of Itezhi-Tezhi, uses Visualize No Malaria technology to deploy limited resources—insecticide-treated bednets, indoor residual spray, rapid malaria diagnostic tests and drugs—on the frontline of Zambia’s fight against malaria. She says the data has revolutionized how she uses reports, which until recently were unreliable and sporadic.
“ Everything is at my fingertips—it’s just a click, then you have it all. You know where the hot spots are and where the data is missing. You have a true picture immediately. ”— Marianne Soko, environmental health officer in the district of Itezhi-Tezhi
The impact of this multisector approach extends beyond malaria elimination in Zambia: Now, the Visualize No Malaria initiative is committed to expanding and scaling malaria elimination efforts to other countries. This innovative model could also be applied to other health areas, revolutionizing how we fight disease worldwide.
We need you to help us eliminate malaria
Malaria elimination is an ambitious and promising initiative, but plenty of hurdles still remain. We are seeking partners that can work with us to support health workers, contribute technology and talent, mobilize their communities, and commit to making malaria history.