BLN members convene in Lusaka to trade learnings, share progress on digital journey
By Celina Kareiva, Senior Communications Associate, BID Initiative
Aug 28, 2019
Members of the BID Learning Network (BLN) and Gavi Data Quality and Use (DQU) Collaborative met in Lusaka, Zambia last month from July 24 to 26 to share experiences from their respective countries, partner to overcome their challenges around immunization service delivery, and further develop and refine their data quality improvement (DQI) plans. Attendees included country representatives from The Gambia, Mozambique, Liberia, Uganda, Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Malawi, and Zambia. Each country is at a slightly different place in their efforts to adopt data quality and use interventions to improve immunization, and so were paired throughout the meeting for peer review of their country plans.
Among them was Dr. William Kaboré, a BLN member and Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Officer for Burkina Faso’s Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI). The BID Initiative sat down with Dr. Kaboré to understand what this most recent meeting has meant to him, what he hopes to take back to his home country, and what he’s looking forward to next time.
What was the greatest benefit of this BLN/Gavi DQU Collaborative meeting?
The greatest benefit of this meeting was the fact that all participating countries were able to present a feasible plan for improving the quality and use of immunization data with peer input.
Throughout the week, participants presented on the status of their country’s data quality improvement (DQI) plans, their accomplishments to date, and next steps. We also had an opportunity to review these plans with peers, to determine how to improve on them.
Can you remember a particularly meaningful exchange you had with other BLN/Gavi DQU Collaborative members?
We discussed a challenge most countries face around limited financial resources to implement the proposed plans and solutions.
This was a significant conversation because it’s a problem many countries encounter. Being able to discuss possible funding solutions among peers could eventually help countries internally, with their own resource mobilization, and externally, by pursuing multi-country resource mobilization.
During the BLN/Gavi DQU Collaborative meeting, participants had the chance to share experiences and lessons learned about the current status of their country’s DQI and data use plans. What are some of the learnings that you shared from Burkina Faso?
As a result of my involvement in the BLN/Gavi DQU Collaborative, I think Burkina Faso has absorbed many lessons. These include:
- Comprehensive engagement: The first is that DQI plans, to be successful, require involvement at all levels of the health system and at all stages of development and implementation. They need strong commitments from the government and the buy-in of first officials throughout the health system. This is the only way to achieve systematic change.
- Constant advocacy: Once a DQI plan has been developed, it needs strong and continuous advocacy with partners to address financial gaps for the implementation of the plan. This will ensure that the cost of introducing and maintaining data quality and use solutions over time is both feasible for the government and built into the appropriate funding mechanisms.
- A detailed transition plan: It’s clear from countries like Tanzania and Zambia that using a single data management database, such as the DHIS2, can significantly improve the quality of data. To ensure the successful progression from multiple databases to a single database requires a comprehensive transition plan that takes into account the needs and viewpoints of multiple stakeholders.
- Consistent monitoring and evaluation: A monitoring and evaluation (M&E) framework for DQI plans is so important to ensure that countries stick to what they’ve set out to achieve. Regular meetings are one mechanism for reviewing the state of implementation—to determine where countries are succeeding, and where they’re falling short.