The Use of Mobile Electronic Devices for Public Health Data Collection and Syndromic Surveillance at the Republic Of Sierra Leone Armed Forces
Public health data collection methods in Sierra Leone were compared. First, a household health census was conducted with some interviewers using paper-based forms requiring later data entry and others using tablet computers for immediate electronic data inputting. Electronic data-entry surveys were more time-efficient and accurate than paper-based surveys. In a second evaluation, military Medical Inspection rooms (MIRs) sent syndromic surveillance reports to a central communications hub via cell phone or paper-based forms. The report compliance rate was 89% for daily SMS and 100% for weekly SMS versus 76% for weekly paper reports. Electronic data collection and reporting is feasible and cost-efficient in low-resource settings.
Keywords: mobile phones, text messaging, database management systems, census methods, sentinelsurveillance