Lot Quality Assurance Sampling in Tanzania
MEASURE Evaluation first used the lot quality assurance sampling (LQAS) methodology in Tanzania in 2010 in its effort to determine whether services were being delivered to the country’s most vulnerable children (MVC). Dawne Walker, MEASURE Evaluation’s resident advisor in Tanzania, explained in a phone interview how she arrived at the decision to use the methodology:
“Originally, there was a big problem here with data quality assessment for community-based programs; we were relying on health workers to spot test. What we found was that there was no structured way of doing these spot checks and that services weren’t being delivered to children.”
Walker and her colleagues knew they needed a tool and methodology that were not too onerous. “We discussed approaches that wouldn’t take much time because we didn’t want something that was a big time burden,” she recalled. “But we needed something that would give us information about whether services were being delivered.”
A colleague suggested the LQAS methodology for those very reasons. The next step was to develop a tool. Walker and her colleagues selected core indicators and developed the Community Trace and Verify Tool (CTV). In addition to being designed to collect information about service delivery, CTV can be used to support supervision and to assess the well-being of children and their families.
A major feature of the tool has proven to be its efficiency. It consists of a short questionnaire that does not place a burden on caretakers being interviewed, and it requires only a small sample size to establish whether an adequate number of vulnerable children are receiving services.
MEASURE Evaluation initially collaborated with AfriCare to pilot-test the tool using the LQAS methodology in the summer of 2010. The organizations were happy with what they discovered. “What we saw was that it worked,” Walker said. “The LQAS methodology worked, the tool worked.” And the quick results proved to be a key advantage to the CTV tool and LQAS. “We were able to get information that we could act upon,” Walker explained. “If we found that an indicator was not being met, we were able to follow up on that.”
The pilot test was followed up in early 2011, when MEASURE Evaluation used the LQAS methodology with the CTV tool in additional provinces. “For us, it’s a pretty simple, straightforward tool, and LQAS is pretty simple as well,” Walker said. “We aren’t looking to generalize anything, but for that particular village and indicator, we see if it passes or fails. If it passes, that’s good, and if it fails, then we can act upon that.”