Thursday, February 18, 2010

CA and accountability in the global health sector

Dear Colleagues

This text is from a message I received at the end of January

From: Ruggiero, Mrs. Ana Lucia (WDC)
crossposted from:

Meeting the Demand for Results and Accountability: A Call for Action on Health Data from Eight Global Health Agencies
Margaret Chan1*, Michel Kazatchkine2, Julian Lob-Levyt3, Thoraya Obaid4, Julian Schweizer5, Michel Sidibe6, Ann Veneman7, Tadataka Yamada8
1 World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland,
2 Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, Geneva, Switzerland,
3 Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI), Geneva, Switzerland,
4 United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), New York, New York, USA,
5 Human Development Network, World Bank, Washington, D.C., USA,
6 Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), Geneva, Switzerland,
7 United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), New York, New York, USA,
8 Global Health Program, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Seattle, Washington, USA

PLoS Med 7(1): e1000223. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000223 Published January 26, 2010
Available online at:

“……Recent substantial increases in international attention to health
have been accompanied by demands for statistics that accurately track
health progress and performance, evaluate the impact of health
programs and policies, and increase accountability at country and
global levels.

The use of results-based financing mechanisms by major global donors has created further demand for timely and reliable data for decision-making. In addition, there is increasing country demand for data in the context of health sector strategic plans, including in countries that have established International Health Partnership (IHP+) compacts [1].

In spite of recognized efforts by programs and countries, the ability to respond to this demand is constrained by limited data availability, quality, and use. Many developing countries have limitations that hamper the production of data of sufficient quality and timeliness to permit regular tracking of progress made in scaling up and strengthening health systems. Data gaps span across the range of input, output, outcome, and impact indicators.

New ways of working and a more systematic approach by all partners are needed to better monitor and evaluate progress and performance….”

The issue of data has been a talking point for a very long time ... but the steps to improve data have been haphazard, to say the least. A structure to make data valuable is never part of the agenda ... and the data ends up costing a lot and doing rather little. The situation in 2010 is not much improved over the situation 30 and 40 years ago ... just more technology on top of ineffective dataflows.

The next blog is a response I made to the corresponding reference.

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