eHealth Systems Africa Uses Sync To Deliver Better Public Health Services

Adam Thompson, Executive Director and Co Founder at eHealth Africa, shares how his NGO uses Resilio Sync (formerly BitTorrent Sync) for a wide variety of replication and synchronization needs.

At eHealth Africa our mission is to deliver better public health services to vulnerable communities through data-driven technological solutions. We have over 800 staff members, with offices in Kano, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea, as well as developers based in Berlin.

In Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone we have developed Emergency Operation Centers, significantly scaled up Ebola Call Centers and designed custom Call Center Software, supported the Sierra Leone Vaccine Trial and ZMapp Study, and in Liberia increased the capacity of laboratory services in the Ebola-affected African hot zone. In Nigeria, we work with national, state, and local governments to streamline and strengthen polio immunization activities. Across Nigeria we work in partnership with the Nigerian Emergency Operations Center, develop cutting edge technologically focused health delivery and logistics systems that currently track and deliver vaccines and other vital items, and are developing innovative nutrition technology solutions. Geographic Information Systems is essential for this work, allowing us to identify missed settlements, microplan vaccination campaigns, and map accurate routes for vaccination delivery for overall routine immunisation work. We’ve got the largest GIS team in West Africa, and have mapped the locations of over 100,00 health facilities, 500,000 settlements, and over 200,000 kilometers of roads in Nigeria. This data allows us to systematically access and help protect some of the most remote regions of the world.

Locally based data collectors use software on GIS enabled tablets to map settlements and capture demographic information. During immunization campaigns, GPS-enabled Android phones carried by vaccination teams track their movements. In partnership with Novel-T, we operate a custom Vaccinator Tracking System (VTS) that ingests this data to monitor area covered and missed settlements in a dashboard and push this data back to the teams.

Resilio Sync (formerly BitTorrent Sync) provides us with a powerful tool for synchronizing the large data-sets involved in our work between offices and individual endpoints. Every month, over 1TB of data is transferred to and from our offices in Kano and Abuja for use in different initiatives. We use Sync to clone the VTS image files to new laptops in the field and track changes to our GIS data in real-time, act on it, and simultaneously back it up for redundancy.

Sync’s ability to move data in high-latency situations and not need to restart uploads or downloads during a connection interruption is a life-saver for us. This was especially apparent when moving data to laptops and mobile devices in rural regions with extremely poor connectivity. It’s a valuable tool in our toolbox for us to ensure that every person in their community deserves access to the kinds of tools which enable them to lead healthier lives.