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COVIDaction Vaccine Data Co-Lab: Healthsites emergency health data validation workshop

‘As a pregnant woman, I want to have access to an ambulance or convenient transportation should I need emergency health services during labor’.

What would you do if you or a loved one needed emergency health care but you didn’t know which health facility could best help you? Who to call for an ambulance or where to go for tests or other services?

In many lower and middle income countries (LMICs) such as Senegal, accurate data is hard to access both by private citizens and the government alike. Without up-to-date, GIS enabled, accurate data on health facilities and their services, it is very challenging to both respond to medical emergencies as well as plan public health interventions, such as distribution of COVID-19 vaccinations.

Publishing Health Facility Data as Open Data

The Global Healthsites Mapping Project , designed and implemented by Healthsites and funded in part by FCDO COVIDaction, is building a global commons of health facility data by collecting and publishing health facility data on OpenStreetMap for use by medical and humanitarian actors. The increased data availability will help public health service providers design COVID-19 response plans and vaccination campaigns as well as identify gaps and pressure points within the healthcare system. The work builds on an action plan established with the Direction of Planning, Research and Statistics (DPRS) in 2019.

Map of locations of health facilities with emergency health services in the district of Saint Louis, Senegal
Emergency health services in the district of Saint Louis, Senegal

Healthsites is driving the development of baseline health facility data through the development of emergency health user stories.

A health facility may have a lot of services and other information to share. But capturing and keeping this data up to date can be expensive and labour intensive. What data is most important and to whom? How do you establish naming conventions so that different data collectors can share and add data in collaborative machine readable ways?

To address these questions, Healthsites developed a health facility data validation method in collaboration with:

  • Senegal’s Centre des Opérations d’Urgence Sanitaire/Senegal Ministry of Health (COUS).
  • La Direction de la Planification, de la Recherche et des Statistiques/Direction of Planning, Research and Statistics (DPRS).
  • OpenStreetMap Senegal.
  • Other workshop participants included Ministère de la Santé et de l’Action Social, Afrimapr, The Global Healthsites mapping project and Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT).
Three Senegalese participants discussing data validation and naming conventions in front of a big screen TV and with flip chart paper on the wall.
Participants discuss data validation and naming conventions

The Healthsites Data Validation method

The workshop established a data validation method, process a flow diagram, and supporting use stories. From the user stories, attendees were able to identify the facilities in the district of Saint Louis that offer emergency services and the need for funded transportation services. In addition the workshop participants identified the valuable work that the neighborhood godmother or Badienou gokh plays in supporting this user story.

The key steps in this method included:

  1. Compare data sets to consolidate naming convention between COUS, DPRS and OpenStreetMap.
  2. Identify priority attributes from the emergency health user stories.
  3. Visit facilities in the field to validate the data attributes
Design workshop workflow. Two ministries (COUS and DPRS) identified validation opportunities and naming conventions, identified facilities with priority attributes in the field, confirmed user stories and shared with St Louis Medical district, COUS, and DPRS, and finally, uploaded data to OpenStreetMap and generated a report.
Data validation workflow

Healthsites strategy: Human Centered Design for better quality open data

This activity in Senegal is a good demonstration of the overall strategy of using Human Centered Design to improve public health responses via better quality data. By creating health user stores gleaned from both health workers and the public, specific data baselines can be designed, defined against Open Data standards, and used to both collect data and build an open data community using youth and others interested in data and GIS.

Drive the development of baseline health facility data thru emergency health user stories. based on open data standards to build an open data community with human centered design to iteratively improve.
Healthsites strategy

For more information on this workshop or other activities of, please visit

Get in contact to run an emergency health data campaign.


COVIDaction Vaccine Data CoLab

The Vaccine Data Co-Lab, a component of the Frontier Technology programme, is an FCDO-led collaboration supporting actionable solutions that improve data-driven prioritisation, allocation and distribution of COVID-19 Vaccines. This work builds on the success of the Data Challenge for COVIDaction, which was launched at the beginning of the pandemic. COVIDaction invested in and supports a portfolio of tools that address COVID-19 data needs for Ministries of Health, National Statistics Offices, and others to provide evidence-driven policy decisions. As COVID-19 efforts shifted from detection and prevention to vaccine distribution, COVIDaction worked with COVAX GIS Working Group to launch the Vaccine Data Co-Lab to support LMIC decision-makers with tools required for equitable, transparent, and efficient vaccine delivery. To view that call and learn more about the outcomes visit:

Follow us on medium and twitter for updates on these projects as well as announcements about future opportunities.




COVIDaction, a partnership between UKAid, UCL Institute of Healthcare Engineering and Global Disability Innovation Hub, alongside others, is building a tech and innovation pipeline to support action related to the COVID-19 pandemic across different thematic areas

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Siobhan Wilson Green

Siobhan Wilson Green

COVIDaction Data Challenge co-lead, Lead of Digital & Data Governance Transformation (DDGT) portfolio at IMCWorldwide

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