Scaling up electronic village registers for measuring vital statistics in rural villages in Malawi
Gadabu OJ, Ben-Smith A, Douglas GP, Chirwa-Nasasara K, Manjomo RC, Harries AD, Dambula I, Kang'oma S, Chiumia T, Chinsinga FB. Scaling up electronic village registers for measuring vital statistics in rural villages in Malawi. Public Health Action. 2018 Jun 21;8(2):79-84. doi: 10.5588/pha.17.0116. PMID: 29946524. PMCID: PMC6012956.
Setting: Eighty-three villages without electricity in Mtema Traditional Authority, Lilongwe District, Malawi. Objectives: To describe 1) the expansion of the electronic village register (EVR) to 83 villages in Mtema Traditional Authority, 2) the challenges encountered and changes made to render the system robust and user-friendly, 3) the value propositions developed to increase the system's desirability, and 4) the results of the village register. Design: Descriptive study. Results: After the deployment of the EVR in one village in 2013, the system was extended to 83 villages with modifications to render it more robust and user-friendly. These changes included modifications to the power, connectivity and work stations, better battery security and a single modular electronics panel. Value propositions of the EVR for the village headmen included daily postings of news/sports items and sockets for charging mobile phones and lanterns. Of the 47 559 residents registered, 48% were male, 14% were aged 0-4 years, 43% were aged 15-44 years and 4% were aged ⩾65 years. Between 1 April 2016 and 31 March 2017, 976 births and 177 deaths were recorded. The total equipment cost per village was US$2430. Conclusion: An electronic village birth and death registration system can function in an area with no communication or electricity infrastructure.