Synergy’s MIS/GIS Expert Larry Kanwee Is Helping USAID Liberia Monitor National COVID-19 Response

Synergy’s MIS/GIS Expert Larry Kanwee Is Helping USAID Liberia Monitor National COVID-19 Response

Synergy International Systems is currently in the final year of work on the Liberia Strategic Analysis Project (LSA), funded by USAID Liberia, and implemented under sub-contract to Social Impact.  Synergy’s role on LSA has been the design, development, and implementation of “PIDS”, the Performance Indicator Database System.  The system informs Mission decision-making by enabling monitoring, evaluation, and learning from ongoing Mission projects.

When the COVID-19 pandemic spread to Liberia, Synergy’s MIS Expert Larry Kanwee, based in Liberia, helped support the Mission by creating COVID-19 dashboards that provide real-time analysis on the spread of COVID-19 in Liberia, helping shape the Mission’s response.  Larry also created a partner coordination dashboard displaying risk communication and community engagement interventions for improved targeting and reducing duplication of efforts in tackling the spread of COVID-19.

Liberia COVID-19 Case Dashboard

Below is a short interview with Larry where he explains how he learned from his past work responding to the Ebola crisis to help inform his ongoing work helping the Mission respond to COVID-19.

 

Question:  “Larry, I know in the past you worked on something similar to these COVID-19 dashboards in response to the Ebola crisis, can you talk about what you created in response to Ebola, and how you translated those lessons learned into this work you’ve done for COVID-19 response?”

Larry: “At the beginning of the Ebola crisis, different US-based groups including the CDC and the Military came to Liberia to support the fight against the virus. The USAID Liberia Monitoring and Evaluation Program (USAID/L-MEP), a USAID activity for whom I worked at the time, was solicited for help with maps (both soft and printed copies). As the requests for the maps began to increase, with each request having its own theme, I thought it wise to develop an interactive web map that would include all the features/layers of Liberia and share the link with the various groups. This was a huge game changer because the user could now access the map anywhere and interact (toggle features/layers) at any time.

When I got in touch with the right person with access to the raw data of the Liberia Ebola daily situation report, I decided to include that data in the web map. This also took the web map to another level and provided a monumental contribution to the effort against the Ebola virus or EVD, as it was called.”

 

Question: “Can you talk about what specifically you’ve created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic?”

Larry: “The COVID-19 dashboard started based on a request of map(s) of COVID-19 cases vs USAID activities from Social Impact HQ, because similar work was done by Social Impact Lebanon. After we created our first static map, we realized that the map would need to be updated and shared as often as possible when the data are made available. Therefore, we created a web-based dashboard which we share and update regularly (daily).

The dashboard shows primarily where the COVID-19 cases are emanating at the district level and focuses on the actual sites of USAID activities/projects within those impacted districts.

Key features in the dashboard are the category of cases by status (confirmed, active, death, and recovered), by age groups, by gender, by districts, by counties, and USAID activities/projects, and the sites and locations that are within the impacted districts. These are analyzed and displayed using charts, maps, list, and indicators.  Some additional layers include all USAID activities/projects at the site level, schools, communities, health facilities, radio stations, cell towers, etc.

The dashboard is essential for viewing Liberia’s COVID-19 cases and statistics in one place. It is also being used as an aide in implementation strategy.

As a result of the dynamism of the dashboard, another dashboard was developed for the Risk Communications and Community Engagement (RCCE) Pillars Partners. This is a support requested by the USAID DRG Team. The purpose of this dashboard is to increase coordination and targeting of interventions among stakeholders, and help partners plan their activities.  Key features of this dashboard focus on the COVID-19 messaging of the various partners. These include the message delivery mode, message types, and message content. Also included are the radio stations and the communities involved.  Overall, the goal is to track how we are spreading public health announcements related to COVID-19 across the country.

So, in summary, we have two dashboards currently informing Mission COVID-19 response:

1) COVID-19 case tracking and USAID activity dashboard

2) COVID-19 communication/coordination dashboard

COVID-19 Coordination Dashboard