Angelique Mihigo, Program Assistant, EpiC Mali
Kounadi Coulibaly, Strategic Information (SI) Advisor, EpiC Mali

KOLOCHI is an electronic reporting system for tracking HIV cascade data across all services provided for female sex workers (FSW), men who have sex with men (MSM), and other priority and key populations that is being scaled up in Mali. To date, the Meeting Targets and Maintaining Epidemic Control (EpiC) Mali team has trained doctors, nurses, midwives, and peer educators to collect and manage HIV data using KOLOCHI and has distributed nearly 500 tablets and 57 laptops to 11 local partners across 23 health districts to support use of the system.

The system was developed between 2016 and 2019 by the FHI 360-led Linkages Across the Continuum of HIV Services for Key Populations Affected by HIV (LINKAGES) project, which was funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). In October 2020, the LINKAGES project transitioned to the USAID/PEPFAR-funded EpiC project, also led by FHI 360, and the EpiC Mali team is now helping to expand the use of KOLOCHI throughout the regions of Bamako, Segou, and Sikasso. 

KOLOCHI is an open-source District Health Information Software 2 (DHIS2) program for data collection, visualization, analysis, and sharing via a web portal and an Android mobile app. DHIS2 supports aggregate and individual data, including functions to track cohorts of individuals over time to facilitate data-driven decision-making. Over time, KOLOCHI has been updated to add variables specific to priority and key populations to serve as a tool for community health centers in Mali.

Since its inception, KOLOCHI has strengthened HIV programming in Mali in three key ways:

Improved quality of data

The implementation of the tool has improved data quality and the decision-making process related to supervision, training, resource allocation, program performance, and the reporting system for national teams and funders in all 23 health districts. The amount of data collected has increased because of activity expansion across partners and sites. KOLOCHI’s individual tracker prevents duplications, or double-counting, across services. Analytic tools in KOLOCHI enable every field site to assess data quality and easily make corrections. All field staff have received training, and supervisors are able to track performance of their respective areas.

Aissata Traore, an agent with L’Association pour la Protection et la Promotion de la Famille (APPF), said KOLOCHI has multiple benefits for the program. “With the help of KOLOCHI, we now do daily analysis to verify the accuracy of the data and simultaneously correct the errors with the field teams. Its database has also allowed us to save more time in data collection and analysis.” 

Improved performance monitoring

The software electronically archives the patients’ records and produces weekly, monthly, and quarterly reports. The digitized information includes community and laboratory data. The technical team and partners conduct meetings to review and monitor performance data every week and to put in place, adapt, and reinforce strategies to improve HIV interventions across the cascade. This system is being used by all partners who are implementing the EpiC program in community and clinical settings.   

“Thanks to KOLOCHI, we replaced the traditional health physical documents with an electronic DHIS tracker. This change has allowed us to collect data using the tablets and follow the evolution of our program,” said Dr. Ag Alitini Almahdi, a program manager with SOUTOURA and EpiC. “KOLOCHI enables us to follow the path of each target in the service circuit and produces the activity reports while we monitor the program implementation.” 

Better client-centered case management

All clients, whether HIV positive or negative, are part of case management. The case management module in KOLOCHI helps to monitor treatment adherence and viral suppression status among individuals living with HIV. KOLOCHI helps health care providers understand, in real time, which patients are experiencing interruptions in treatment or are virally unsuppressed. This enables providers to use enhanced adherence support for those who need it most. 

Mali has come far since the days of collecting paper-based data from field sites and labs. The paper-based entry process was challenged by document transportation delays, limited flexibility, lower quality data, and lack of backups. 

EpiC Mali will continue to provide technical assistance to stakeholders including the Government of Mali; the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria; and other partners in the fight against HIV for wider implementation of KOLOCHI and to support adoption of the system at the national level.

Photo Credit: Canva