Abt Associates: Bold thinkers driving real-world impact
The use of Smartphones in Nigeria to collect data on tuberculosis has eliminated the need for printed forms, minimized human error in data entry, reduced the lag time for getting data to policymakers and managers, and helped pinpoint ways to improve delivery of care.
USAID-funded Health Systems 20/20, in collaboration with the National TB and Leprosy Training Centre in Zaria and the Boston-based firm Avid Database Solutions, piloted the use of personal digital assistant (PDAs) to help improve supervision of TB treatment, diagnosis, operational procedures and data reporting at the facility and local-government level. Supportive supervisors conduct visits on a monthly or quarterly basis at facilities to provide comprehensive monitoring of all clinical, commodity and laboratory functions that support TB care in Nigeria, which has the highest TB burden in Africa and the fourth highest worldwide.
The project migrated from PDAs to Smartphones to enable better data sharing capabilities and easier analysis on the phone, allowing quality improvement plans to be made on the spot during a supervision visit. A checklist on the Smartphone, which includes information on labs and drug supply, allows for immediate data analysis and creation of data-driven quality-improvement plans.
Abt Associates recently conducted trainings on the use of the Smartphones to collect data, as well as an online database that allows for easier aggregation and reporting of critical TB information at the national level. The project has begun spreading to all local government areas in the states of Lagos and Abia, affecting more than 200 facilities and 50 supervisors.
“This project shows how technology can play an important role in eliminating barriers to tuberculosis treatment and care, helping countries strengthen their health systems to meet the challenges of delivering health services,” said Ann Lion, vice president and project director, Health Systems 20/20.
Health Systems 20/20 is USAID’s flagship project for strengthening health systems worldwide.
For more information, visit Health Systems 20/20.
Abt Associates is a mission-driven, global leader in research, evaluation and program implementation in the fields of health, social and environmental policy, and international development. Known for its rigorous approach to solving complex challenges, Abt Associates is regularly ranked as one of the top 20 global research firms and one of the top 40 international development innovators. The company has multiple offices in the U.S. and program offices in more than 40 countries.