Bold Thinking at Abt: Global Health Security

Keith Mangam

Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist
Reliable, High-Quality Data

Quality, reliable data can make or break an intervention. But, Keith Mangam says, that high-quality information must be available in real-time, adaptable data systems.
As a monitoring and evaluation specialist on the President’s Malaria Initiative Africa Indoor Residual Spray project (PMI AIRS), Mangam and his team are using mobile phones to enhance data collection and surveillance efforts to prevent malaria across 11 countries in Africa. Mangam says AIRS has greater impact across sub-Saharan Africa because of the monitoring system’s flexibility and almost real-time reporting.

A Tailored, Robust System

“The system is robust and works with analog phones as well as smart phones,” said Mangam, “and because we are talking about 11 different countries, each has a unique front-end where data can be entered that is contextualized for each country and project.”
From there, data become part of a common database on the backend, which Mangam explains is a shared and standardized database that gives project administrators verified and reliable information. The monitoring and evaluation system relies on thousands of hands, from data collectors in the field, to data entry clerks, to monitoring and evaluation field managers.
“Through the system, we know from the field agents’ data,” Mangam says, “the communities they have reached, and the households to which they have provided malaria protection throughout the year.”

Meeting World Health Organization Coverage Goals

Mangam explains that the monitoring system ensures the project meets the 85 percent household coverage goal set by the World Health Organization. This goal means the malaria IRS teams must spray 85 percent of the households in each community to ensure protection from malaria-carrying mosquitoes.
Further, he says, the system provides additional tools that provide feedback on any needed course corrections. Mangam explains based on its 48-hour turnaround for results, the AIRS team is able to receive project performance on a “close to real-time basis,” and can provide supervision to those in the fields, handling issues as they occur, no matter if the team is in Benin or Bethesda, Maryland.
“We can see if there are problems arising in terms of environmental compliance, like wearing protective equipment,” he says. “Then we can send broadcast messages out to all of our field teams to make sure they are reminded about these compliance issues, or we can motivate them to make sure that we are meeting our daily targets for the day.”

Information for Impact

In addition to receiving information quickly, Mangam confirms the high quality of information brought in by the system. Validation checks are incorporated throughout the process, providing high-quality results that report to clients how the project is progressing.
“Because we are able to have this feedback loop constantly on our project, AIRS is able to, as a whole, continuously try to improve how we do these vector-borne control interventions and make sure that we are strengthening our impact every year.”

Areas of Expertise

  • Program Design, Monitoring, and Evaluation
  • Impact Evaluation
  • Rapid Cycle Learning