Launch of the COVAX Geospatial Health Community of Practice


GIS-based Microplanning map for vaccine distribution in Zambia - courtesy of GRID3



In late 2020, as the roll out of COVID-19 vaccines began, governments were scrambling to ensure effective and equitable distribution and delivery. In response to this, the COVAX Innovations to Scale Technical Working Group was established under the COVAX facility to facilitate countries access and capacity to deploy to mature, scalable digital solutions for COVID-19 diagnostics, treatments and vaccines. In this context, the joint WHO-UNICEF COVAX GIS Working Group was created as a group of technical experts with the mandate to coordinate global efforts for the deployment of Geographic​ Information Systems (GIS) to support the microplanning of vaccination service delivery.


Fast forward to today, the focus of COVAX has shifted towards the integration of COVID-19 vaccines and tools into routine immunization, integrated service delivery and Primary Health Care (PHC) strengthening. In order to support this shifting agenda, the COVAX Geospatial Health Community of Practice (CoP) was initiated in August 2022 by WHO and UNICEF as a venue of knowledge exchange to strengthen global coordination of efforts related to the deployment of geospatial solutions for COVID-19 response and integration into PHC. The community is attended by experts from over 25 organizations, including UN organizations global, regional and country officers, donors, implementing partners, NGOs and academia, whose work is related to geospatial health applications.


So far, two meetings have taken place. Over 140 people attended the first CoP meeting, which focused on a use case on the application of GIS for COVID-19 microplanning in Zambia and was presented by the Zambia Ministry of Health and GRID3. The second CoP meeting reviewed the WHO/UNICEF programmatic guidance on Integrating COVID-19 vaccination into immunization programs and wider Primary Health Care strengthening as well as an interactive session on the role of geospatial tools in the integration agenda.


If you are interested in joining the COVAX Geospatial Health Community of Practice, please email Rocco Panciera at rpanciera@unicef.org for more information. You can also stay up to date and watch the recordings of the CoP on www.digitalhealthcoe.org/webinarsandpresentations, or by exploring the GIS Working Group website: www.covid19giswg.net