DR Congo

GIS support for the 2016 MSF yellow fever vaccination campaign in Kinshasa, 1st edition (August 2017)



The deployment of a GIS specialist for the 2016 yellow fever vaccination campaign in Kinshasa had a direct, positive impact on the work of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) programme staff.

The 11 MSF staff interviewed for this case study agreed that the most useful maps were those that helped them navigate safely and quickly through Kinshasa’s narrow streets, and showed where locations were in relation to each other. In addition to road maps and maps displaying buildings, this included access maps that showed which streets could be used by vehicles and which could only be navigated on foot.

Aside from the navigational maps, visualisations that showed the daily progress of the campaign in the different locations were highly appreciated by MSF staff. These visualisations were instrumental in quickly identifying and addressing gaps at specific vaccination centres, and in allocating resources in the most efficient way. GIS support made it possible to investigate and immediately address issues that might otherwise have remained undiscovered until a post-vaccination evaluation.

Based on the interviews, it is possible to conclude that GIS support was a very important enabler - although not a critical factor – in the vaccination campaign. GIS support allowed MSF staff to complete their work more quickly, more safely and more accurately.

However, we have also noticed the GIS specialist workload has reached a critical level during some parts of the deployment. GIS support relying on a unique GIS specialist has shown some limitations this time, this is especially the case over nights when the GIS specialist was only able to produce maps based on data available when teams returned from the field.