Data management in health facilities is a major challenge in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where resources for data collection and reporting are strained at best. In an effort to expand routine reporting, MEASURE Evaluation has supported the establishment of four centers of excellence in select health facilities in each Provincial Division of Health (Kinshasa and Haut Katanga). Through training, supportive supervision and facilitation, MEASURE Evaluation is helping build the capacity of these facilities to collect and use quality health data for improved project management and planning.
Establishing and Supporting Centers of Excellence
Dr. Olivier Kakesa, who has served as the MEASURE Evaluation resident advisor in DRC since 2013, has led the effort to establish the centers of excellence. In collaboration with the Ministry of Health, he and his team developed criteria to select the facilities where the centers would be established. They reviewed the quality of data currently collected at each facility, as well as the facility’s general condition and accessibility.
Next, Dr. Kakesa and his team collected baseline information to record how many staff were acquainted with best practices and tools for monitoring and evaluation (M&E) and how they currently provided data to the health zone. They also used a routine data quality assessment tool designed for capacity building and self-assessment.
“It’s always good to get a baseline measurement before an intervention,” says Dr. Kakesa. “We can develop a capacity-building plan based on the results, and later we can better assess how well our efforts have worked.”
First-of-Their-Kind Provincial Working Groups
MEASURE Evaluation delivered a one-week training course on data collection, quality, and use to staff at each of the centers. To coordinate these and other interventions at the provincial level, MEASURE Evaluation helped establish a provincial M&E technical working group in each Provincial Division of Health. Members of the division and its partners have convened twice in both Kinshasa and Lubumbashi to report on provincial M&E activities.
“These meetings are the first of their kind,” says Dr. Kakesa. “Normally it is very difficult to coordinate M&E activities at the provincial level, but now we have opportunities to do so.”
Dr. Kakesa and his team are gearing up to deliver printed tools and a secure Internet connection needed to facilitate data collection at each center. MEASURE Evaluation will document best practices and lessons learned from the centers and share those experiences nationally and with other health zones to extend the knowledge to additional health facilities.
“We’re off to a good start,” says Dr. Kakesa. “When health facilities collect good data, it strengthens the entire health system.”