Developing new tools and approaches to address new challenges
Strengthening Connections in Ethiopia
In our efforts to improve integration of HIV services, MEASURE Evaluation has used network analysis to demonstrate how organizations in a single community connect with each other (or how they don’t). People living with HIV can have a wide range of needs; in addition to medical treatment for HIV, they may require counseling, housing support, pregnancy prevention services, and tuberculosis treatment. While all of these services may exist in a given community, they are often disjointed and poorly integrated, rarely coordinating with each other, and leaving patients with unmet needs. Rather than simply showing what and where services exist, our organizational network analysis tool highlights relationships among organizations providing services – how they share information and resources and how they refer clients to each other – allowing communities to benefit more from resources already in place. After we conducted an analysis in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and shared our results with organizations in the network, the number of those organizations making referrals increased by 50 percent, better meeting the needs of HIV clients.
Using New Technologies in Mali
To improve availability and timeliness of malaria data in Mali, MEASURE Evaluation partnered with Yeleman, an IT services company based in Bamako, to create a mobile- and web-based reporting system that provides users with analyzed and validated malaria data monthly. Before this mobile- and web-based system, availability of malaria data was contingent on an annual report by the Systeme National d’Information Sanitaire. Under the new system, users can access malaria data in as little as three weeks after the end of each month. In addition to making malaria data available more quickly, the new reporting system has shown local health information specialists how to integrate new technologies that improve data management. Advantages of the new system are poised to reach further; it has already been adapted for other health areas in Mali and will expand to more districts, with an added epidemiologic surveillance component.
Implementing the PLACE Method
MEASURE Evaluation has enhanced the quality and amount of information about HIV incidence by working with local governments and organizations in countries throughout the developing world to implement its innovative PLACE protocol. The PLACE method allows local health workers to identify and map locations and events where people meet new sexual partners and to interview a representative sample of people at the venues about their sexual behavior and exposure to prevention programs. Since we first developed and piloted PLACE in South Africa in 1999, it has been used to focus HIV prevention efforts on high-incidence areas, where interventions are most likely to impact behavior change. In 2009, MEASURE Evaluation acquired even more information about HIV in China’s Liuzhou province by conducting a PLACE study alongside respondent driven sampling (RDS) and comparing results from the two methods. In addition to yielding useful methodological information, the comparison study identified gaps in Liuzhou’s HIV prevention programs and documented recent trends in sexual behavior. For example, the PLACE portion of the study supported a 2010 finding from China’s national population-based household survey of a rising rate of one-night stands among young people who do not identify as sex workers, which could alter HIV transmission patterns in China. This kind of specific and localized information helps health authorities target and monitor local HIV interventions.