The Use of Mobile Electronic Devices for Public Health Data Collection and Syndromic Surveillance at the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces

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Public health data collection methods in Sierra Leone were compared. First, a household health census was conducted with some interviewers using paper-based forms requiring later data entry and others using tablet computers for immediate electronic data inputting. Electronic data-entry surveys were more time-efficient and accurate than paper-based surveys. In a second evaluation, military Medical Inspection rooms (MIRs) sent syndromic surveillance reports to a central communications hub via cell phone or paper-based forms. The report compliance rate was 89% for daily SMS and 100% for weekly SMS versus 76% for weekly paper reports. Electronic data collection and reporting is feasible and cost-efficient in low-resource settings.

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