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Data for Decision Making for Malaria Control in Mali

Malaria is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in Mali, particularly among children under the age of five. The country’s efforts to control the disease include the distribution and use of insecticide-treated mosquito nets and indoor spraying, preventative treatments for pregnant women and effective diagnosis and treatment of all malaria cases.

Accurate and timely data from routine health information systems are needed to track malaria trends and monitor the performance of malaria control interventions. Although mobile phone reporting and web-based databases are improving the capture of routine health information, insufficient human and financial resources and poor access to technology have limited Mali’s ability to meet the increasing demand for high-quality and timely data on malaria. To address these needs, MEASURE Evaluation, with funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), supports monitoring and evaluation systems for Mali’s National Malaria Control Program (NMCP) and the use of this data to guide evidence-based decision making.

Expanding Surveillance Systems

In 2009, MEASURE Evaluation began providing assistance to Mali’s NMCP to strengthen the routine information system that collects data from health facilities. MEASURE Evaluation helped design, test and implement this system in selected districts, in an effort to improve the quality and timeliness of data on several malaria indicators.

In 2011, MEASURE Evaluation and the NMCP, with financial support from the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI), began rolling out a new reporting system for routine malaria information to increase the availability of malaria data. The system helps monitor availability of malaria commodities, trends in malaria episodes and deaths, and the performance of interventions. In addition to expanding the types of malaria data collected, the new reporting system tests mobile and Web-based mechanisms for reporting data to a central database. By increasing the speed of data transfer from health care facilities to policymakers, these mechanisms can facilitate decision-making that is based on the latest information.

Following civil unrest from 2012 to 2013, large populations began moving from northern Mali (where malaria transmission is unstable or low) into areas of high transmission. In 2013, the NMCP and its partners requested support from MEASURE Evaluation to establish an epidemic surveillance system that could detect and respond to potential malaria outbreaks in the Mopti region, which hosted large numbers of displaced populations.

In 2015, the system was expanded to cover all health care facilities of the districts of Mopti and Bandiagara. MEASURE Evaluation is now working to expand the use of both the routine information system and the epidemic surveillance system in additional regions using the DHIS2 platform.

Supervising the Healthcare Facilities

MEASURE Evaluation also provides technical and financial support to the NMCP to undertake supportive supervision visits at community health care facilities in five regions and in the district of Bamako.

“Supervision helps us determine how well the health centers are doing in using the systems to report malaria routine and surveillance information, and helps to identify and resolve data quality and reporting issues through coaching of personnel,” says Diadier Diallo, PhD, a MEASURE Evaluation advisor in Mali.

Reporting Results to Stakeholders

In addition to supporting NMCP to strengthen malaria monitoring and evaluation systems, including training personnel in data analysis, interpretation and presentation, MEASURE Evaluation provides technical support to NMCP for reporting program results to stakeholders.

To disseminate information to local health authorities, regional and district offices and NMCP partners, on efforts and approaches to improving the quality and timeliness of data, and on malaria control activities in general, MEASURE Evaluation has assisted the NMCP in writing, editing and disseminating several reports on its work to control malaria.

“These reports remind me of the progress we have made in regards to information documentation and sharing,” says Diallo. We have made significant improvements in key indicators following the scale up of malaria prevention and control interventions.”