Mapping for the Ebola Response, Uganda

The Democratic Republic of Congo has been fighting a devastating outbreak of Ebola since 2018, which has killed nearly 3,000 people. Due to the outbreak and ongoing conflict in the country, many refugees cross the border into Uganda, potentially spreading the disease even further. In June 2019, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) asked HOT to help fill in the severe gaps in information about where official and non-official crossings were - critical details needed to help screen people along the lengthy border and combat the disease.

As there is little to no information on the villages along the DRC border, the project set about mapping the points people were using to cross between the two countries (points of entry) and the 14 counties in the surrounding area. First, 430 HOT volunteers remotely mapped the region, adding 28,312 buildings to the map. Seventy local community members then carried out ground truthing, adding over 1,900 points of interest, such as water points, health facilities, and other points of interest to the map across 87 villages. Our team also managed to identify and map 115 formal and informal points of entry along the border, significantly more than the four ‘officially known’ points of entry where the IOM had existing screening stations.

Our team in Uganda then worked with the IOM to improve their Ebola response by creating a digital information management tool and survey using Open Data Kit (ODK), and trained over 90 IOM staff working at border crossings how to use ODK and track Ebola-related gaps and needs at the screening points. The digital tool enabled screeners to use their smartphones to complete a weekly form assessing available stock and materials - such as hand sanitizer, gloves, chlorine - at the screening point and make additional requests for items needed. The project was very successful, and as a result, there has been an increase in the number of regular assessments and significantly improved how fast critical information (including the number of people crossing the border, stock levels of personal protective equipment, and number of staff at the site) can get to the people making decisions at the IOM and the Ministry of Health’s National Task Force in Kampala.

“The training and support received from HOT supported our team highly in the response of Ebola along the borders of Uganda-DRC and Uganda-Rwanda. It had a positive impact in resources mobilization for the Red Cross screening teams and IOM enumerators through a fast and reliable means of communication using OpenDataKit and KoBotool box. This mode of operation also supported data analysts to report timely statistics to HQ which helped IOM to provide updated information during National Task Force meetings.”
- Mr. Julius Mubangizi (Data Analyst and Supervisor IOM Western Uganda)

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Project in Numbers

This project was supported by