GOAL the leading organization, Centers for Disease Control (CDC) gives technical input, BBC Media Action produces radio programming, Restless Development works with social mobilizers, and FOCUS 1000 with religious and traditional healers, formed the Social Mobilization Action Consortium (SMAC) in order to support and strengthen the National Social Mobilization Pillar. Simultaneously activate multiple channels to provide EVD information which addresses the principle transmission modes; and work with and through existing local community structures capable of leading and role-modelling behaviour change, in order to reduce EVD infections. On the 15th October 2014, with funding from the Department for International Development (DFID), SMAC launched a six-month project, Community-based Action against Ebola. Under the project, SMAC is delivering Radio, Religious Leader, and Community Mobilization activities in every district of the country and aims to achieve tangible behaviour change around safe burials, early treatment, and social acceptance of Ebola survivors. SMAC Community Mobilisers are trained and work with 10,052 communities nationwide using the Community-Led Ebola Action approach. Religious Leaders from the Islamic Action Group (ISLAG) and Christian Action Group (CHRISTAG) use faith-based frameworks to engage over 2,000 congregations across the country on Ebola issues. While our Partner Radio Stations produce and broadcast relevant Ebola programming in local languages in all districts. SMAC has now been awarded funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to launch a four-month project on ‘Enhancing the Impact of the SMAC Action Against Ebola Initiative’, which aims to enhance existing activities, introduce mobile phone data collection, and improve coordination of activities at both the national and district levels.
Community-based Digital Data Collection and Surveillance System Background
With support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, FOCUS 1000 is working through the Social Mobilization Action Consortium (SMAC) to rapidly collect relevant community-based EVD surveillance data from a network of over 1000 community mobilisers, 500+ mosques/churches, and 100 radio station managers in Kambia, Port Loko, Bombali, Moyamba, Kono, and Western Area. The SMAC Consortium consists of the following partner organizations/agencies: BBC Media Action FOCUS 1000 GOAL Restless Development US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Overview of Data Collection Mechanisms
The SMAC Digital Data Collection System (DDCS) comprises two key components: (i) daily SMS alerts on deaths and suspected cases (ii) weekly Open Data Kit (ODK) submissions on a range of social mobilization activities and EVD surveillance indicators.
Daily SMAC SMS SMAC has integrated with Airtel to allow the RapidPro platform to interact with its network of social mobilisers via SMS. The platform allows social mobilisers to send alerts for specific events such as death, suspected case, quarantine issues, survivors, and orphans. Once an alert is sent, the respective SMAC District Liaison Office (DLO) would then follow-up with the phone user to get more detailed information about the reported event. The DLOs would subsequently follow-up with the District Ebola Response Center (DERC) to facilitate a prompt response. All follow-up information collected by the DLOs regarding the alert are then inputted into the SMAC SMS Management System wherein each alert is automatically geo-coded and mapped for monitoring and tracking purposes. Similarly, SMAC uses the platform to rapidly conduct polls/surveys with the network of social mobilisers on any given issue relevant to the present context in the national Ebola response. An example of such use was during the Three Days Zero Ebola campaign wherein SMAC conducted a rapid survey on each of the campaign and shared the results with the National Ebola Response Center (NERC) in order to assess the following: (i) number of households reached (ii) number of deaths identified (iii) number of sick people identified (iv) community acceptance of visiting teams (iv) challenges faced by visiting teams.
Weekly ODK Reports SMAC has also integrated with Airtel to enable its network of social mobilisers to use basic Android-smart phones to submit weekly reports using Open Data Kit (ODK). The ODK mobile application has been customized to collect a range of indicators on the following: (i) social mobilization activities by each partner organization (ii) deaths and associated events (iii) suspected cases and associated events (iv) survivors. ODK allows for offline data collection, which makes it possible for social mobilisers to collect and store the weekly report without Internet connection. However, once the report has been finalized offline, the social mobilisers would then use the Airtel data network to electronically submit their weekly report. The weekly data are then analyzed by the FOCUS 1000 team, and key performance and surveillance indicators shared with SMAC partners and other decision-makers in the national Ebola response in Sierra Leone.