Geospatial data to improve COVID-19 vaccination planning in Burkina Faso

October 17, 2022

In June 2021, the Director General of the WHO set the goal of achieving a 70 percent global vaccination rate for COVID-19. GRID3 has been supporting numerous sub-Saharan African countries in their campaigns to achieve this objective, including Burkina Faso.

Over the past year, GRID3 has made significant contributions to Burkina Faso’s microplanning work around COVID-19 vaccinations (“microplanning” is one of the processes that health workers use to optimally deploy resources, including vaccines and personnel, to ensure that vulnerable populations are reached during health campaigns). GRID3 has advised the government on how geospatial data can inform vaccination campaigns, piloting data use through the creation of 16 microplanning maps for health districts (district sanitaire) in the Centre, Centre Sud, and Centre Ouest regions; as well as conducting trainings for district sanitaire data managers, regional staff, and national staff on the use of geospatial data and maps for microplanning.

Training stakeholders in GIS

As a part of a wider GRID3 effort to increase geospatial data use in Burkina Faso, a training was held this past April that focussed on using GIS for microplanning. Following the training, the Department for the Prevention of Disease through Vaccination (DPV) requested support from GRID3 in mapping COVID-19 vaccination sites in the Centre Region (which was selected both for the availability of input data as well as for being the most populous region in the country).

Between the end of June and July 2022, GRID3 created maps for each of the five health districts that make up the region. Included in these maps were GRID3 data on population and settlements; the locations of COVID-19 vaccination sites; as well as locations where additional vaccination sites could be placed (the placements were produced by a site placement optimisation algorithm developed by GRID3 partner Flowminder).

DPV then requested a second training of data managers from the five health districts, this time focusing on how to collect geospatial data in the field and how to use GRID3 maps for microplanning. From 29 June through 1 July, data and information managers from the DPV at the national, regional, and individual health district levels attended the workshop. Topics included collecting GPS data points via smartphones and Garmin devices; importing data into QGIS; creating maps with health facilities’ geographic coordinates; understanding and reviewing each of the five district-level GRID3 maps; and ways to apply these maps to upcoming COVID-19 vaccination campaigns.

Participants in the workshop were asked to complete a survey on the utility of the maps and their expected use. All the participants anticipated the maps would be useful for assessing access to health facilities and planning COVID-19 and childhood vaccination campaigns, and some expected to use the maps to plan bednet distribution. The participants found value in learning how to use the maps for microplanning and appreciated the need for accurate geospatial data.  

According to Salfo Ouedraogo, a district sanitaire data manager from the Centre Region:

“The maps are important for taking into account populations in hard-to-reach areas in the microplanning of immunisation activities […] The workshop allowed us to note that vaccination sites are missing from the maps, hence the need to update the data.”

As of September 2022, Burkina Faso’s Ministry of Health reports that 10.8 percent of the population has completed the COVID-19 vaccination schedule. GRID3 maps and related capacity strengthening will continue to support Burkina Faso’s drive to achieve 70 percent vaccination. 


Featured photo credit: kyselak, Wikimedia

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