A new approach to large-scale effectiveness evaluation


Author(s): Spencer J, Pill C, Curtis S, Kunyanga E

Year: 2011

Spencer J, Pill C, Curtis S, Kunyanga E.  A new approach to large-scale effectiveness evaluation [correspondence].  Lancet 2011. 377(9774):1317. DOI:10.1016/S0140-6736(11)60539-4.  


We endorse the view of Cesar Victora and colleagues (Jan 1, 2011, p 85, The Lancet) that traditional evaluation designs are limited in today's complex global health environment. The national evaluation platform approach proposed will require the linking of multiple data sources at the district level to permit analysis of programme effectiveness. Geographic identifiers are a key to linking data sources from both vertical programme and more integrated information systems.

In Kenya, work is underway to develop a two-pronged approach that addresses both the organisational and technical facets of linking data sources by use of geography in the context of programmes for orphans and vulnerable children. Organisationally, the Government's Department of Children's Services will work with their primary programme supporters (including donors) to develop a consensus on the sharing of information that will empower child welfare officers and service providers at the district and subdistrict levels. Technically, stakeholders will develop a spatial data model that will allow data sharing across programmes. The data model will not require changes within the vertical reporting structures, but will enable interoperability between systems and allow the Department of Children's Services to know who is doing what where.

Geographic identifiers also provide the opportunity for production of maps and our experience in other countries suggests that maps can be a powerful motivation for strengthening data quality to support such mapping for decision making. We believe that such efforts compliment the proposed national evaluation platform approach and advocate for explicit attention to the spatial data infrastructure as the concept evolves.