The Ministry of Health (MOH) in Liberia recognizes the importance of quality data for program planning, monitoring, and evaluation, and acknowledges the challenges of data availability, quality, and use across all program areas. With that in mind, the MOH is setting up a taskforce to develop a data improvement plan (DIP) to assure a more integrated data improvement approach across the MOH units/departments and implementing partners. Data availability, quality, and use for health programs including EPI program, disease control programs (malaria, TB, HIV), etc., are critical components in data-driven decisions to improve health program coverage and management, and health outcomes. The coverage and impact of public health programs are measured either using facility-based data collected through administrative reporting systems or population-based data gathered through household surveys.
An additional area of concern for health programs is the inaccurate target population currently in use in Liberia, most notably in the urban settings. The increase in population, varying growth rates, and frequent migration and movement of communities has left the target population estimates out of date. Using inaccurate target populations for health program planning and management can result in illogical coverage rates (e.g. over 100% coverage rates and sometimes high or negative drop-out have been observed for immunization), thus straining the credibility and confidence of programs among leaders, decision makers, and donors.
Vaccines and other consumables at health facilities can be grossly over- or under-stocked—with missed opportunities to vaccinate, large wastage of vaccines, and inefficiency or ad hoc balancing of stocks for other health programs. In urban settings, not understanding the movements and availability timeframes or conveniences of caretakers can result in missed opportunities to vaccinate or provide other health services.
The JSI technical assistance will include identification of both quick wins and longer-term strategic interventions. In the recent past, JSI has been involved in evidence-based planning and systematic monitoring, including data quality improvement plans, annual desk reviews, periodic in-depth system assessments and periodic nationally representative surveys.