By Jacob Ayienda
Tungiasis is a tropical parasitic disease caused by Tunga penetrans also known as jigger flea and is largely associated with poverty ridden communities. This parasiticinfestation is commonly found in developing countries, especially in resource-poor neighborhoods where basic hygiene standards are poor.
Keiyo district has a prevalence of 20% of tungiasis and is ranked seventh among 20 districts in Kenya with the highest prevalence (MoH, 2012). Collecting data on tungiasis within Keiyo district which comprises of a geographically dispersed environment requires considerable coordination to ensure completeness, accuracy, and timely transmission of the data, as well as reduce burden of travel on health personnel.
The use of paper-based forms for monitoring of jigger cases is labor-intensive and often results in copious amounts of paperwork that is later difficult to analyze. To address this, the project incorporated a mobile based data collection system to provide on-the-spot data validation and automated skip logic in the field to increase the accuracy of collected data.
A custom android operating system based data collection mobile phone application was developed to allow health workers to submit regular reports back to the Ministry of Health (MoH) Keiyo district headquarters thus giving health workers the ability to report in real-time, any jigger infestation cases detected in the field and also tag the data with GPS coordinates.
Using this system, jigger cases were reported, collected and aggregated in minutes using a simple android phones and a personal computer. Compared to a 4 to 5 week process when paper recordswere used and physically delivered, this project has tremendously improved data transfer to the district headquarters for timely reporting and has also allowed for real time tracking of reported cases in order to monitor the progress and impact of ongoing jigger control interventions.