The USAID-funded Ghana Evaluate for Health project (Evaluate) helped to advance monitoring and evaluation (M&E) and research across the USAID/Ghana portfolio and in cooperation with the Ghana Health Service (GHS) to facilitate evidence-based planning and decision-making within the health sector.
With Ghana’s journey to self-reliance in mind, our project was led by an all-Ghanaian team and recruited all Ghanaian evaluation consultants and data collection firms to build M&E capacity across a large cadre of professionals.
Our project M&E community of practice (MECOP) engaged implementing partners consistently through a hands-on methodology that emphasized team building, practical exercises, and fun and creative activities guided by international experts. The methodology strongly focused on data visualization, infographics and GIS mapping.
We also helped to create sustainable systems to support future monitoring and evaluation. One of our most challenging and successful activities was the rollout of an e-Tracker system. The rollout effort, which received kudos from the University of Oslo for its scope in extending electronic data capture using a DHIS application, required coordination between three distinct partners: GHS, Samsung Electronics and USAID/Ghana. Our local team was able to build trust between the national, development and private sector partners, ensure timely provision of the electronic tablets, prepare e-Tracker training materials and policy guidelines, and stay on top of USAID’s tight deliverable contract. The project trained over 4,000 GHS facility staff and more than 1,800 sub-district heads in all 64 districts in Upper East, Volta and Easter regions to use the e-Tracker. GHS is now incorporating lessons learned from the rollout and is committed to rolling out in the other 13 regions in Ghana.
Evaluate also assisted the GHS to showcase innovative Ghanaian research through bi-annual National Health Research Dissemination Symposia and supported implementation of Symposia action plans, including the creation of the first-ever national Knowledge Translation Platform (KTP). Since its inception, the KTP organized two high-level expert communities of practice and initiated a first policy conference to review Ghanaian research related to calcium supplementation for pregnant women. The policy is in response to increasing concern about the number of maternal deaths related to preeclampsia.
A high-level and sustainable platform like the KTP brings together local researchers and policymakers to ensure that policies are promptly formulated on emerging health issues in Ghana, such as dramatic increases in non-communicable diseases in the country. The GHS and Ministry of Health are now engaging development partners and the Government of Ghana to identify resources for follow-on activities for knowledge management to translate research to policy and policy to practice.