Technology has revolutionised the way high-impact rabies control projects are managed around the world. The WVS Data Collection App was built with almost a decade of remote data collection experience in mass canine rabies vaccination campaigns and research. The user-friendly mobile interface can be used by staff and volunteers offline, with data being uploaded to a secure cloud-based server when internet connection is available. Project managers can monitor team progress and view basic data through the website platform of the WVS App or download datasets for a more in-depth analysis. The WVS App is provided by the IRT to governments and NGO organisations working in rabies control, so get in touch if you are interested to try it out.
Rabies vaccination campaigns often bring together many people across multiple organisations to vaccinate a large number of animals over a short period of time. One of the most challenging aspects of these campaigns is efficient coordination of vaccination teams in unfamiliar working areas. The WVS App enables project managers to coordinate remote teams entirely through the platform.
The WVS App is used to record data at the time of vaccination. This enables accurate recording, removing the requirement for paper records and the need to enter data after a project. Every data entry is tagged with the date, time and GPS location as well as project - and user - specific identifiers, enhancing the quality of the final dataset.
The WVS App contains integrated maps which rabies teams can use to navigate through the region they are vaccinating in. In addition, project managers can upload pre-planned vaccination zones for each team to operate within, ensuring that an area is covered systematically, without team overlap. New vaccination zones can be assigned to individual teams as they progress through the project area, allowing a project manager to guide teams in real-time.
Project managers can remotely monitor the progress of teams through the WVS App website format in near-real time. Daily progress assessment is made easy with the in-built map and data analysis function linked to each project page. For in-depth statistical analysis, full datasets can be downloaded as a .csv file to be opened in excel or more advanced statistical software such as QGIS, SPSS or R.
In 2012, the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Blantyre reported the highest number of paediatric rabies deaths from a single institution across the whole of Africa1. Since our initial campaign in 2015, the hospital has witnessed a dramatic decrease in such cases2.
Since implementation of our rabies elimination program the WVS Data Collection App has been used to:
Due to the success of our program in Blantyre, we have been able to protect more communities by expanding the work further into 3 surrounding districts. All the above work wouldn't be possible without the WVS Data Collection App.
In 2021, Goa State was declared India's very first "Rabies Controlled Area" with no human rabies deaths since October 2017. This achievement is the result of over 8 years of vaccination, education, surveillance and research, all coordinated through and recorded on the WVS Data Collection App.
This project relies on both hand catching and net catching of stray, community and owned dogs. The mapping function of the WVS App has been integral to how the project runs. Teams of dog catchers and vaccinators move systematically across Goa State, using working zones in the WVS App to navigate through the region. Every animal vaccinated receives a data entry in the WVS App which is associated with the exact GPS location. This means that maps such as the one in figure 1 can be produced to visualise the canine rabies vaccination progress.
Map of GPS locations of dog vaccination records in 2021, showing coverage throughout the state.
In addition to its use in canine rabies vaccination, the WVS App has been used to:
The Ministry of Agriculture in Haiti has been leading rabies control in the country, with the assistance from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, since 2013. Despite vaccinating between 100,000 and 120,000 dogs across the country every year, a project evaluation in 2015 found that only 45% vaccination coverage was able to be reached1.
In 2017, the WVS App was brought in as the data collection tool for the National campaign. In 2017 alone over 250,000 vaccinations were recorded, and most importantly the project achieved over 70% vaccination coverage for the first time.
The use of the WVS App for project coordination and its effect on vaccination coverage was quantified in a 2021 journal article where 2 cities were vaccinated using either 'traditional' or 'technology-aided' vaccination methods. The technology-aided approach achieved an estimated 80% vaccination coverage compared to the 44% of the traditional approach2.
The vaccination work is combined with use of the Rabies Epidemiology And Case Tracking (REACT) App to coordinate an Integrated Bite Case Management (IBCM) surveillance program and this has led an over 75% reduction in human rabies deaths in Haiti3.