In this month's Rotary Magazine highlight, we look at Congo's use of geospatial tracking to record and map the distribution of polio vaccines in local communities. The story is titled, "Polio Mapping Goes High Tech: Geotracking Improves Outbreak Response Targeting, Ensuring Fewer Children are Left Behind." The article is written by Tolu Olasoji and can be found, in its original form, on page 12 of your March magazine. 
Disease mapping has been done since the mid-19th century. However, with new technologies, this mapping can now occur more efficiently and accurately.
Geospatial analytics/tracking is a tool that is used in a variety of different fields: weather forecasting, defense, sales, agriculture, to name a few. The World Health Organization (WHO) is using this technology to prevent and respond to public health threats around the world. One of these projects is the mapping of polio vaccine distribution in the Republic of Congo. 
Starting last year, the Republic of Congo has been mapping out vaccine distribution using smart phones that are connected to a central digital map (shown in the image above). The location of vaccinators are tracked, via their smartphones, and this information is sent to the central database. When a house or area has been visited by a vaccinator and successfully vaccinated it turns green on the map. Areas that have not been vaccinated remain red.
What is great about this technology is that areas and communities that are often overlooked will get properly immunized. Moreover, the efficiency of this technology ensures that vaccines are distributed quickly and systematically in order to prevent outbreaks.
Sandra Line, a WHO trained vaccinator, says, "all you have to do is charge your phone and make sure you turn on the tracker when you are out on the streets. I just put it in my pocket and go from house to house." The mobile app is similar to a fitness tracker, it counts steps, plots coordinates, and provides essential details about dates and times. Vaccinators can also enter in information about settlements, households, and reasons why individuals refused a vaccination. 
This software has been so successful in The Republic of Congo that it will be implemented in other countries in Africa and used for purposes beyond polio. It is wonderful to see the implementation of such an effective technology!