Dr. Godwin Ubong Akpan is the Regional Lead for Innovation and Data Analytics at the World Health Organization (WHO). Godwin is responsible for disease surveillance in the Africa region (AFRO) and has successfully used ODK's data collection platform for ambitious projects like eradicating wild polio from the continent.

Before ODK, WHO was manually collecting data using paper forms, a slow process, but one that had always been good enough. WHO upgraded their data collection to ODK during the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa when it became clear that their manual process was preventing timely decisions that could save lives.

The old process was slowing down the outbreak response because the contact tracing team was managing hundreds of paper forms. The data from the paper forms needed to be transcribed and analyzed to identify how the outbreak was progressing. Godwin and his team knew their manual process was too slow to change the course of the outbreak and so made the switch to collecting data with ODK.

"Using ODK was a game changer for Ebola."

Godwin's team move from paper forms to ODK transformed how quickly WHO could respond to the outbreak. It was a game changer because ODK could:

  • Reliably collect health and location data in offline settings
  • Be used by thousands of staffers without much training
  • Empower decision makers working at scale with timely data

Real-time Power BI dashboard streaming data from ODK (© WHO)

It has been years since the 2014 outbreak, and in the Africa region alone, WHO has used ODK to collect hundreds of millions of data points. A recent example of this success at scale is a campaign in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to immunize 17 million children from polio.

"We've clocked over 500 million data points for routine immunization and disease surveillance."

The power and flexibility of ODK ensures WHO, in partnership with 48 African governments, has the routine immunization and disease surveillance data they need to keep more than 1.4 billion people safe from polio, Ebola, COVID-19, and more.

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