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Photo of a woman in a face mask and lab coat looking at a slide under a microscope
Photo by Moses Senesie, MOHS, March 2021

The U.S.President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI), a U.S. government initiative created to dramatically reduce malaria deaths and illnesses across sub-Saharan Africa, set its sights on an important public health goal: consolidating, standardizing, and securely sharing data across more than two dozen partner countries to better inform its programs.

PMI, launched in 2005, equips and empowers partner countries to battle the mosquito-borne disease via cost-efficient healthcare interventions as well as technical and operational assistance. The initiative, led by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and co-implemented with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), emphasizes five focus areas:

  1. Reach the unreached
  2. Strengthen community health systems
  3. Keep malaria services resilient
  4. Invest locally
  5. Innovate and lead

PMI now operates across 27 partner countries in Africa and Southeast Asia’s Greater Mekong Subregion — areas collectively representing almost 90 percent of the global malaria burden. Beyond collaborating directly with host country Ministries of Health, PMI coordinates closely with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, UNICEF, and other government agencies and organizations to support host countries’ malaria control, prevention, and education efforts. PMI also works with a wide array of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), including faith-based and community groups, academia, and the private sector.

As PMI grew in size and reach, the initiative identified the need to aggregate, clean, and map data across its global network. PMI also focused on how to easily and securely share the most timely and relevant malaria commodity data, as well as how to scale computationally intensive models to anticipate increases in malaria cases before they strike.

That’s when PMI looked to develop a data repository and began to work with a new partner: Civis Analytics.


Photo of a pan in sterile gloves interacting with a child while his family looks on
Photo by Feliciano Monti, PMI/Burma, March 2016

Civis Platform is a flexible, scalable data management solution that makes it easy for government agencies, nonprofits, advocacy groups, and other mission-driven organizations to import, transform, analyze, and report on their data. The cloud-based Platform allows stakeholders throughout an organization to collaborate in a centralized environment to more quickly generate data-driven insights, and to close the loop on measurement, activation, and attribution.

Civis Platform provides PMI with a secure, unified, open-source solution for each level within and across the organization, including:

  • A collaboration workbench for planners, engineers, program managers, and data teams. Platform provides technical and data teams with tools to build workflows, models, and data-backed apps they can share with decision makers and executive users. 
  • Reporting and analytics for teams on the ground. Platform empowers users via out-of-the-box data analysis and reporting solutions focused on outcomes. 
  • Insights dashboards for decision makers. Platform provides simple reporting and visualizations for efficient, data-informed planning and execution. 

By adopting Civis Platform, PMI was additionally able to: 

  • Increase the efficiency of their on-staff data scientists and data analysts 
  • Automate time-consuming tasks
  • Decrease time spent identifying broken processes
  • Enable data sharing and governance


Photo of a smiling family
Photo by Mwangi Kirubi, PMI Impact Malaria, March 2020

By using Civis Platform, PMI was able to establish a central repository to aggregate and analyze data from its partner countries, and to create an automated quarterly report pipeline and dashboard. The quarterly report pipeline employs a scalable method to process and standardize the data received to ensure that all data is reported in monthly time periods using a standard set of geographic and indicator names.

The geographic standardization process is backed by multiple database tables that contain the nearly 80,000 standard names and 200,000 variations in spelling, language, and known aliases of those standard names. This process can be applied to a variety of datasets to allow for data to be combined and compared across sources.

Platform also allowed PMI to boost its analytics capabilities, including:

  • Scaling predictive analytics by converting code to accept user-entered custom fields to change model specifications; run models in parallel; and leverage Platform’s computing resources to allow for multiple model variations to run more often
  • Scaling data visualization and dashboard development by allowing users to host Tableau and RShiny dashboards and applications in Platform
  • Scaling data import and processing by developing scheduled workflows that run on-demand to continuously flow fresh data into Platform on a daily basis, making data accessible to key stakeholders to inform decision making

Since 2006, PMI partner countries have driven a 26 percent decline in malaria case rates and a 43 percent decline in malaria death rates, boosting optimism for the disease’s eventual elimination and eradication. With PMI’s data now more centralized, standardized, and accessible, the battle against malaria has entered a new phase — and the disease doesn’t stand a chance of winning.   

Charawe PHCU, Unguja Island, Tanzania. Public Health Nurse Mosi Ahmada Juma (in yellow) reviews a new malaria case with DSMO Shaabani Khamis, using the MEEDS and MCN system.

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