The PMI AIRS Project is using electronic data collection and GPS on smartphones to improve the planning of indoor residual spraying and to carry out safer, easier malaria spraying campaigns.Transporting insecticide for indoor residual spraying (IRS) campaigns can be challenging in rural areas where with multiple river crossings, inaccessible roads, and long distances between targeted spray areas.
The President’s Malaria Initiative Africa Indoor Residual Spraying (PMI AIRS) Project, led by Abt Associates, conducts detailed geographical reconnaissance before spraying to map out areas targeted for IRS, and ensure the safe transport and delivery of insecticide. The project collects information on the physical terrain, bodies of water, agricultural crops and other environmental features. However, environmental compliance officers were finding inconsistencies and incomplete reporting in geo reconnaissance when the information was collected on paper forms.
In Madagascar, the PMI Africa IRS Project’s Monitoring and Evaluation Manager, Arnaud Rakotonirina, and Environmental Compliance Officer, Tahina Masihelison, developed electronic data collection forms for smartphones to improve data collection during geo reconnaissance. This helped make planning for IRS campaigns easier, faster, and more accurate.
Environmental Compliance Officer Tahina Masihelison uses a smartphone to record a river crossing. Photo credit: Mijoro Rasolofomalala “Conducting geo reconnaissance on the smartphone has simplified and accelerated how we collect information in the field,” Rakotonirina said. “It also has eliminated transcription errors and double entries when transferring information from paper form to an excel sheet.”
The GPS application allows the project to identify in advance areas inaccessible by car as well as sensitive areas to avoid during spraying, such as locations near organic crops. The GPS also shows the nearest health care clinics in case of an accident.
In May 2015, AIRS Madagascar used the smartphone for geo reconnaissance for the first time in the Farafangana District. In doing so, the project reduced by half the time needed to collect and enter data. Staff reduced entry errors and gathered richer data, such as photos, GPS coordinates, and automatic date and time stamping. This allowed for more time for analysis of IRS implementation strategies and environmental compliance risk and safety.