One million dog vaccinations recorded on mHealth innovation used to direct teams in numerous rabies control campaigns

Andrew D Gibson, Stella Mazeri, Frederic Lohr, Dagmar Mayer, Jordana L Burdon Bailey, Ryan M Wallace, Ian G Handel, Kate Shervell, Mark Bronsvoort, Richard J Mellanby, Luke Gamble

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Canine transmitted rabies kills an estimated 59,000 people annually, despite proven methods for elimination through mass dog vaccination. Challenges in directing and monitoring numerous remote vaccination teams across large geographic areas remain a significant barrier to the up-scaling of focal vaccination programmes to sub-national and national level. Smartphone technology (mHealth) is increasingly being used to enhance the coordination and efficiency of public health initiatives in developing countries, however examples of successful scaling beyond pilot implementation are rare. This study describes a smartphone app and website platform, "Mission Rabies App", used to co-ordinate rabies control activities at project sites in four continents to vaccinate over one million dogs.

METHODS: Mission Rabies App made it possible to not only gather relevant campaign data from the field, but also to direct vaccination teams systematically in near real-time. The display of user-allocated boundaries on Google maps within data collection forms enabled a project manager to define each team's region of work, assess their output and assign subsequent areas to progressively vaccinate across a geographic area. This ability to monitor work and react to a rapidly changing situation has the potential to improve efficiency and coverage achieved, compared to regular project management structures, as well as enhancing capacity for data review and analysis from remote areas. The ability to plot the location of every vaccine administered facilitated engagement with stakeholders through transparent reporting, and has the potential to motivate politicians to support such activities.

RESULTS: Since the system launched in September 2014, over 1.5 million data entries have been made to record dog vaccinations, rabies education classes and field surveys in 16 countries. Use of the system has increased year-on-year with adoption for mass dog vaccination campaigns at the India state level in Goa and national level in Haiti.

CONCLUSIONS: Innovative approaches to rapidly scale mass dog vaccination programmes in a sustained and systematic fashion are urgently needed to achieve the WHO, OIE and FAO goal to eliminate canine-transmitted human deaths by 2030. The Mission Rabies App is an mHealth innovation which greatly reduces the logistical and managerial barriers to implementing large scale rabies control activities. Free access to the platform aims to support pilot campaigns to better structure and report on proof-of-concept initiatives, clearly presenting outcomes and opportunities for expansion. The functionalities of the Mission Rabies App may also be beneficial to other infectious disease interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e0200942
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jul 2018


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