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Learning from Haiti’s COVID-19 experience to improve evidence-based decision making for a stronger pandemic response

In Haiti, responding to COVID-19 and other health emergencies requires a strong health information system (HIS) that provides timely and high-quality public health data for decision making. Furthermore, given the country’s current public security situation and its impact on health service delivery, bolstering Haiti’s HIS is critically important for the Haitian government.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, CHISU partnered with Haiti’s Ministère de la Santé Publique et de la Population (MSPP) to rapidly expand Système d’Information Sanitaire National Unique (SISNU), the national health information management system, as well as strengthen pandemic response and containment measures. During this process, CHISU provided vital technical and health information resource management assistance across various aspects of Haiti’s COVID-19 health systems infrastructure.

Increasing access to vaccination data
MSPP took swift action to strengthen its HIS to aid in the COVID-19 response and, by late 2021, had integrated the COVAX COVID-19 Vaccination Tracker (an internationally standardized module to capture individual-level data about those who received vaccination). By early 2022, MSPP had coordinated with a number of implementing partners to expand the Tracker’s use to more than 300 vaccination sites.

Since its launch, the Tracker has captured the COVID-19 vaccinations of 295,650 men and 346,520 women—allowing the MSPP to better understand who has received the COVID-19 vaccination and where. To view the vaccination sites on a map, the Carte Sanitaire (a web-based tool from MSPP) is used to present up-to-date geolocated information of health facilities by department or municipality that allows filtering by institution type, service, and infrastructure.

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A screenshot of Haiti's Carte Sanitaire
The distribution of vaccination sites in the Carte Sanitaire.

Thanks to this important work, MSPP then had access to better data on COVID-19 vaccination supply and coverage—and could build on this experience for future health emergencies. It could also efficiently mobilize and use its various resources to meet the population’s needs through access to better data on vaccination supplies and coverage.

Strengthening COVID-19 Tracker capabilities
In 2022, CHISU began its partnership with MSPP by providing technical support to strengthen the national COVID-19 Tracker through maintenance of internet connectivity to select districts and facilities, providing systems administration and maintenance support to the Tracker system, and providing remote technical support to users in the field. In addition, CHISU worked with MSPP to identify and resolve data quality challenges.  

“Having a standardized data collection tool like the COVID-19 Tracker has streamlined the data collection process for districts and improved the timeliness and overall data quality for the international reporting required,” said Jhonson Charles, CHISU Haiti Resident Advisor.

While these improvements were critical to the Haitian government’s response to COVID-19, enabling citizens to access their electronic vaccination records was also a critical component of the public health response. Therefore, CHISU supported the configuration, pilot testing, and launch of the MSPP’s COVID-19 Passe Sanitaire Electronique system, an electronic certificate system for COVID-19 vaccine recipients that integrates with the MSPP’s public website and DHIS2, an open source health information platform used by MSPP. It allows vaccine recipients to visit the site and collect their authenticated vaccine certificates on demand—offering people a convenient way to access an MSPP-endorsed vaccination certificate from their computer.  

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Screenshot of a vaccination certificate from Passe Sanitaire
A digital COVID-19 vaccination certificate produced by the Passe Sanitaire system.

To improve Haiti’s capacity to respond to future public health threats, CHISU also helped develop documentation and training materials for users of the COVID-19 Tracker system—along with an online training portal to ensure widespread access to and uptake of training. These efforts will help Haiti be better prepared for future pandemics and other health emergencies through a stronger health system and a better-trained workforce using this tool.

CHISU’s contribution to Haiti’s COVID-19 response and future emergency preparedness through HIS strengthening was vital to the MSPP’s campaign to improve data quality and use for decision making in Haiti. By building on and using existing resources, like standardized data collection tools and open source software, CHISU helped the MSPP set up vaccination tracking systems more quickly and be more data-driven throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

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