Real-Time Malaria Case Reporting: From Custom Apps to Global Goods – LAO PDR and Cambodia

(This article first appeared in the Digital Solutions for Malaria Elimination Community of Practice (DSME) Quarterly Newsletter – December 2018)

PSI is transitioning from its custom-developed Malaria Case Surveillance (MCS) app to the new DHIS2 Android Capture app, a global good supported by DSME. The new tool was chosen as a more sustainable solution for real-time reporting and case notification. After two months of testing, field-piloting and iteration, field officers are replacing the app across 500 private sector providers, with completion expected in January 2019. Challenges included tight timelines related to planned DHIS2 upgrades; differentiating between bugs, configuration errors, and user errors; and navigating change management across stakeholders.

Several factors contributed to a relatively smooth and quick transition:

  1. With the backend (DHIS2) remaining the same, no transition of legacy systems or re-wiring of integration solutions was required.
  2. Field staff have built capacity and refined approaches to implementing digital tools in recent years.
  3. Feedback mechanisms were in place to translate user experience into technical solutions, with several features from the MCS app now built into Android Capture to maintain similar user experience.