About the Project
The Santénet2 project is a major public health initiative in Madagascar implemented by RTI International and funded by USAID.
The scale and scope of the project is enormous. The intervention zones covers over 60% of Madagascar and includes 6,000 villages located in mostly remote, rural areas.
Project staff has trained more than 12,000 community-based health workers to:
- Improve child survival, maternal health, and nutrition;
- Reduce unintended pregnancy and promote healthy reproductive behavior;
- Reduce transmission and impact of HIV/AIDS
The RTI/Santénet2 project has major reporting requirements, yet Madagascar’s underdeveloped infrastructure makes data collection a challenge.
Every month, each of the 12,000 community-based health workers filled out a paper form summarizing their monthly results (e.g. Number of sick children visited).
Then, 200 supervisors visited 4-5 communes each month to summarize this data and email the results to RTI/Santénet2 headquarters.
Reporting rates were poor; less than 5% of all health data arrived at the project’s headquarters. Early on, Dr. Volkan Cakir, Chief of Party, recognized a need for change: “From the beginning, we knew we had to innovate to be able to report on our success.”
Like much of Africa, Madagascar’s mobile telephone coverage is improving and most of the 200 supervisors own an inexpensive phone. RTI/Santénet2 staff decided to put mobile technology to work. They hired HNI to create a mobile phone reporting system and help them select 12 key indicators (e.g. Number of children diagnosed with Malaria). They trained the 200 supervisors to SMS monthly commune level aggregated data to RTI/Santenet2’s headquarters database.
Since launching the new data collection initiative in June 2010, 97% of the project’s supervisors have reported data via SMS at least once. This is an impressive achievement compared to the 5% reporting rate before. Two-thirds of the supervisors now report consistently and each month the successful submission rate improves.
“Thanks to our partnership with HNI, and the hard work of our senior staff, we now have the data we need to report to USAID on macro-level indicators.
We no longer have to extrapolate; data from the field show our community health workers treated more than 100,000 cases of childhood illness in twelve months, and almost 80,000 women are using community based Family Planning services.”
Dr. Volkan Cakir, Chief of Party, The Santénet2 Project