During 2014, the ENVISION project is rolling out the new WHO data quality assessment (DQA) guidelines and tool for neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). In March, RTI International and the Indonesia National Lymphatic Filariasis (LF) Program piloted the DQA tool in two ENVISION-supported districts: Merangin, Jambi and Kolaka, Sulawesi Tenggara. ENVISION and the national programs were curious to know how reporting on mass drug administration (MDA) could be improved at all levels.
Assessments were completed at the national LF program office, 2 provincial health offices, 2 district health offices, 2 health centers per district, and 3 health posts per district. After answering questions for the DQA at their level, provincial and district staff joined in the DQA at lower levels.
The DQA assessed three indicators important for reporting on MDA: total population, target (or eligible) population, and population treated. Interviews were conducted with health officials at each level to determine the M&E structure, the use of standard data collection and reporting tools and indicators, and data management processes. Sources of data for the three indicators were recounted to determine the percentage of available, on-time, and complete reports.
Based on the results of the interviews and recounting, action plans were developed at each site, with concrete actions at various levels of the health system. The actions ranged from practical changes (buy a plastic container to keep records in, since some had been destroyed by a leaking air conditioner) to the policy-level (including age and gender breakdowns in reporting forms). While some of the challenges, such as a lack of use of standardized forms or lack of systematic archiving of reports, were not surprising, seeing the results and hearing about the challenges firsthand helped the national program to identify and make important changes.
The results were presented at the ENVISION MDA review and workplanning meeting, leading to a spirited discussion about how to improve the reporting system in ENVISION-supported districts. The national program agreed to revise the LF national guideline forms and ENVISION agreed to support a training on reporting for NGOs and district LF focal points, and added a one-day district level training for health center staff on recording and reporting prior to 2014 MDA activities. These changes were a direct result of the action plans and will improve the quality of reporting in all ENVISION-supported districts.