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Data Driven: Good Information Advances Health Outcomes in the DRC

Before health authorities can analyze data to improve their programs, they need access to data they can trust and training to know how best to use that data for informed, evidence-based decisions.

In the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), MEASURE Evaluation is working to enhance data on malaria to advance strategic program planning and management. This focus on improving the availability, accuracy and completeness of malaria data will lead to improved program targeting, stronger systems to prepare for pre-elimination, and decreased cases of malaria..

Building Database Capacity

MEASURE Evaluation supports the National Malaria Control Program (NMCP) in managing the central database of malaria control activities and integrating it with the national Health Management Information System (HMIS).

As this system (HMIS) rolls out, all routine malaria data collected through it will be accessible to the NMCP. The Ministry of Health (MOH) reconfigured the HMIS to use the district health information software (DHIS 2), which has been adapted to include malaria indicators that NMCP captures. As a result, the capture of malaria indicator data will be more consistent and reduce parallel data collection and analysis. This streamlined system makes it easier to track public health trends.

Dr. Olivier Kakesa, who has served as the MEASURE Evaluation resident advisor in DRC since 2013, is helping streamline malaria indicators for the new platform. “We’re partnering with the (U.S.) President’s Malaria Initiative to support revisions to the malaria components of the HMIS,” he says. “This will help ensure the new HMIS collects a standard set of malaria indicators for program management and reporting.”

Assessing Data Quality

MEASURE Evaluation leads routine data quality assessments at health facilities in targeted health zones. This involves reviewing and adapting protocols (such as MEASURE Evaluation data quality tools), sampling health zones and facilities for participation, and determining which malaria indicators will be assessed. After assessing data quality at each site, the data collection team debriefs the management team on the findings and identifies key actions to improve data quality. MEASURE Evaluation also conducts follow-up visits as sites carry out their action plans. Currently, this work is being done in four health zones and 13 health facilities in each Provincial Division of Health (Kinshasa and Haut Katanga) in the DRC.

Training Data Managers

MEASURE Evaluation also provides technical assistance and training to NMCP staff (health workers) to improve the collection, analysis, and use of malaria data.

“We’re working with data managers to build their skills in using the DHIS 2 platform, and HMIS malaria database provided by MEASURE Evaluation” Dr. Kakesa says. “Overall, they are finding the new database takes less time than the old system to input data. The new database is more intuitive and should lead to more consistent, reliable data.”

Learn more about MEASURE Evaluation’s work in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.