DATA FOR DEVELOPMENT
DeMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO
YEAR STARTED: 2020
Leveraging MNO data for disease surveillance in the DRC
Risk communication is one of the key pillars of responding to outbreaks. Epidemics are unpredictable and alarming events that generate great anxiety in the general public, which can lead to extreme behaviors. In disease outbreaks and epidemics, lifesaving decisions need to be made rapidly and actions must follow promptly, with the support of an informed public. While there have been significant efforts by local MNOs and development partners to launch SMS services, this is still not available at national scale, excludes illiterate populations, and lacks a feedback system. Additionally, DIAL’s assessment in the DRC uncovered a highly fragmented digital ecosystem, with no coordinated platform for digital health interventions or multistakeholder engagement.
The vastness of the DRC, its nine borders, and the diversity of its population and economy emphasize the need for the private sector to complement the public sector in addressing gaps in capacity and scaling the reach of interventions. There is an urgent need for partners to learn, share, and collaborate as a community within the digital ecosystem and across organizations and sectors, so as to fully harness the potential of mobile to support services designed for the underserved. Digital response before, during, and after a disaster is surprisingly uncharted territory in the region. Given the DRC’s significant experience dealing with multiple epidemics, lessons learned from Ebola and other outbreaks can inform the fight against COVID-19 in the short term, making the DRC a true information hub in the region’s fight against infectious diseases.
DIAL supported ANICiiS in the capacity of senior advisor, providing technical and administrative support. As a new agency in charge of digital health transformation, ANICiiS needed a critical framework for its operational activities.
In order to strengthen the capacity building of ANICiiS in an everchanging digital environment, DIAL organized an infodemic and digital health leadership program for the first time in the DRC.
DIAL supported the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and ANICiiS by providing leadership and technical support on mHero, a two-way, mobile phone-based communication system that connects ministries of health and health workers.
DIAL helped strengthen private-sector partnership and engagement by initiating a technical partnership with Airtel, Africell, Vodacom, and Orange on the mHero project to show the MNO the importance of collaborating with ANICiiS.
DIAL supported ANICiiS in working with Kinshasa Digital (KD), a web development and digital communication agency that serves as one of the key technical partners of ANICiiS and the Ministry of Health. With DIAL’s support on capacity building, KD has trained the ANICiiS technical team on using the data dashboard with MNO mobility data.
DIAL convened a diverse range of stakeholders, including donors, multilaterals, NGOs, and the government, to undertake the DRC data demonstration model.