Apart from regular reporting, surveys are an additional tool of national health monitoring. For conducting health surveys the non-profit software provider DataDyne.org developed EpiSurveyor, an open-source software application available to every internet user at no cost.
Surveys with data collection on paper even with computer analysis are cumbersome; supportive internet and mobile phone technology exists but requires the support of experts.
Until recently, EpiSurveyor ran solely on Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs): the EpiSurveyor software had to be downloaded to a computer to create the forms for a survey. The form was then transferred to the Personal Digital Assistant and used for data collection, and the data sent back to the computer for analysis.
With support of the mHealth Alliance, formed by the Rockefeller Foundation, the United Nations Foundation and Vodafone Foundation, the Personal Digital Assistant-based EpiSurveyor was piloted in Burkina Faso, Kenya and Zambia in cooperation with the respective Ministries of Health and subsequently rolled out to 13 sub-Saharan African countries. That rollout is now being switched over to the web- and mobile-phone-based version, which has just been tested in a nationwide child health week campaign in Kenya.
The World Health Organization acts as a door-opener to the public sector. The Foundations now support the roll-out to further 20 countries in Africa, including training and support.