RWASH staff and enumerators having a go with collecting data using smart phones. Photo credit: MHMS.

RWASH staff and enumerators having a go with collecting data using smartphones. Photo credit: MHMS.

The Rural Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (RWASH) program of the Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) are undertaking a national baseline survey on Rural Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (RWASH) for the first time.

A statement from the Health Ministry said the RWASH team is using an Akvo software in smartphones to conduct the baseline survey.

It says the software is specifically designed to work in diverse and remote locations as well as those that lack reliable infrastructure.

It is a multi-lingual tool for collecting, evaluating and displaying any quantity of geographically referenced data, using android smartphones and an online dashboard that allows a person to map situations on the ground and to monitor changes over time.

Last month Akvo, UNICEF, and Water Aid facilitated a week-long workshop to plan the rollout of the survey and train 50 participants including national and provincial Environmental Health staff on how to use the Akvo software.

Meanwhile, Environmental Health Director at the Ministry, Tom Nanau said this survey is a milestone for the Environmental Health Department and the Ministry as a whole as it allows them to collect crucial baseline data on Rural Water, Sanitation and Hygiene practices.

He said the survey will give them a better understanding on how people access to water in rural communities and also help determine the services required, saying information about sanitation and hygiene practices will also be gathered to enable the Ministry to develop well-informed programs and strategic communication to improve access and use.

He adds, the accuracy, reliability and speed of data collection can be challenging with traditional paper-based surveys.

However, he said with the use of this new technology, the Environmental Health Department is confident it will complete data collection for the nation-wide baseline survey promptly with accurate and reliable data at hand.

The survey will run for six weeks, involving 16 survey teams collecting data from the country’s nine provinces.

The Environmental Health Director appeals to all community leaders and elders across the country to render assistance towards the survey team as they visit their communities.

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