The scale of the global COVID-19 pandemic created huge spikes in demand for personal protection equipment (PPE) and infection control supplies required by frontline workers in the health and relief sectors. In response, the Protecting the Frontline project set out to support frontline workers, specifically those in hard-to-reach conflict zones, to access locally produced PPE.
The project brought together three Humanitarian Grand Challenge innovators to enable localized pandemic response by mapping needs and manufacturing capabilities and matching item supply and demand. This mapping work has helped address the lack of availability of PPE supplies through traditional supply chains by connecting, for example, a clinic with a nearby university lab able to make and supply PPE.
Within the region, the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) supported the project through data collection in both Kenya and Uganda and managed the data input through an ODK Central server.
HOT adopted the Open Know-Where standard that was developed by the Internet of Production Alliance. The standard helps to define a mapping standard for documenting and sharing information about the location of manufacturing facilities and capabilities globally. When visualized on a map, these locations help identify potential suppliers that are capable of manufacturing PPE and infection control items.
In Kenya, data collection was carried out in Turkana, Kisumu, and Nairobi, while in Uganda, field mappers covered the following districts: Koboko, Moyo, Arua, Obongi, Wakiso, Kampala, Jinja, Yumbe, Madi Okollo, Amuru, Adjumani, Lamwo, Lira, Nebbi, Zombo, and Mukono. A total of 7,555 machines were mapped.
The data was cleaned, analyzed, and shared with Needslist to develop a platform that links supply and demand.