In April 2022, GRID3 (with support from ICAP) began working with stakeholders to produce customised GIS-based maps that can be used for microplanning in Mozambique’s COVID-19 vaccination campaigns, as well as for routine immunisation activities. “Microplanning” refers to the process in which health workers plan how to deploy resources—including mobile brigades, vaccines, and other health-related commodities—to ensure that vulnerable populations are reached during a health intervention.
Following a stakeholder analysis and needs assessment involving face-to-face meetings with key stakeholders between April 2022 and October 2022, the country’s Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) decided that the second phase of Mozambique’s COVID-19 campaign (held in November 2022) aimed at adolescents (ages 12-17 years) would provide a good opportunity to test microplanning maps based on the data collected and generated for the Guro and Mocuba districts through digital operationalisation efforts for routine immunisation under the Reach Every District (RED) microplanning initiative. This initiative is led by UNICEF in collaboration with the MoH, National Agency for Geospatial Development (ADE), the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), and the Health GeoLab (HGL). The RED datasets included: the locations of important infrastructure for immunisation services (health centres and concentration points where mobile vaccination units provide services); associated proximity basins (area demarcating the anticipated health service coverage for a single health centre or concentration point); the time it takes populations to reach the nearest health centre or concentration point by foot; district boundaries; and road and hydrographic networks. GRID3 created preliminary district and 21 health area-level maps for Mocuba using RED data and other GRID3 datasets (settlements, population distribution) and presented them to RED partners to obtain feedback. In each round of feedback from partners, GRID3 refined the maps. When the maps were finalised by the partners, GRID3 printed them and had a variety of health professionals review them for accuracy and completeness.
On 12 November, representatives from a variety of institutions including the Ministry of Health, EPI, ADE, CHAI, and GRID3 met for a workshop with the district health team in Mocuba. GRID3 presented the Mocuba district- and subdistrict-level maps together with associated tables. These maps and tables displayed population on target age groups 12-17 years and under 5 years and estimated walking travel times from any point in the district to the nearest health centre or concentration point.
At this workshop, several exercises were held to help participants practice using the maps and tables and to identify any errors that might exist in the maps (i.e. in the data used to make the maps), as well as to validate the data that they found to be accurate.
The meeting was a success; it showed stakeholders potential applications of the GIS-based microplanning maps and tables that had been prepared. Based on the results of an evaluation survey completed by 58 participants in the field, most found the maps and data tables easy to understand and interpret; they reported that their use had a positive impact on the vaccination campaign field activities. The survey respondents provided comments on the quality and completeness of the maps and tables, and made suggestions for improvement.
The Ministry of Health, EPI, and RED/REC technical working group partners (ADE, CHAI, HGL, and GRID3) plan to continue working together to improve available data and maps, looking ahead to upcoming polio, measles, and routine immunisation campaigns.