Shortly after the first confirmed COVID-19 case in South Africa on the 5th of March 2020, HISP’s team of public health specialists, disease surveillance experts and ICT teams prepared to support the country with an integrated disease surveillance response system. The open-source DHIS2 platform was customised to use Tracker for person-based capture. Our quick response prioritised developing a system that allows capturing data across three modules in under 1 month.
The case management module captures confirmed COVID-19 positive cases or persons under investigation that are being managed at a hospital or similar facility. The contact tracing and quarantine monitoring module captures daily data of persons who have been in contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case or have been placed under quarantine. And the traveller screening module helps monitor and trace persons entering or departing the country through any one of South Africa’s air-, land- or sea-ports. Person records can be transferred between these modules seamlessly without having to change systems.
Similar to the requirements under the SSSA scope, all three HISP COVID modules support complex workflows between multiples users to capture person-centric data at various intervals during COVID management. Data fields on the system have been informed by global datasets from CDC and WHO and further customised for the South African context through user demonstrations with provincial Departments of Health. The open source architecture also supports integration of data across various systems such as NICD and NHLS.
Analytical functions on the platform support a variety of dashboards to monitor the outbreak at the facility level and aggregated upwards to district, provincial and national levels. Geospatial analytics allows clients to map COVID cases, observe risk areas and identify trends of disease progression.
The project was implemented and supported in Gauteng and Eastern Cape province during the first wave of COVID in South Africa.