Friday, February 6, 2015

The Necessity of Rigorous Research

By Julius Kirya, Global Health Corps Fellow

Before any program intervention, it's always advisable to conduct rigorous research about how to best make an impact in a given area. This notion cross cuts many different sectors. Businesses conduct research to determine how to create economies of scale. States and governments review evidence-based research before implementing large-scale programs. The research itself informs the nature of the interventions and how they will be implemented.

The success of a program in one village does not guarantee success in another. Communities differ in their topography, climate, tradition, culture, demographics, education, etc. Without systematic and rigorous research, programs will never understand these factors or be able to plan for appropriate interventions. 

Monitoring involves systematic, coherent and continuous collection and analysis of interventions and using the resulting information to determine how a program should proceed. It also helps provide stakeholders with relevant information about the strengths and weaknesses of a program's implementation. Evaluation, on the other hand, assesses a project/program to determine what impact has been made. In combination, monitoring and evaluation is greatly indispensable for the success of any intervention.

As part of UVP's impact evaluation, an enumerator interviews a respondent in Kitukiro Village Iganga

Earlier this month Orrin (my co-fellow) and I began a monitoring and evaluation process that will help Uganda Village Project reach its five-year goals. Iganga is one of the least served regions of Uganda and it is critical to implement effective programs. We set out to perform an impact evaluation survey in the Healthy villages in Iganga: we have a total of 24 "intervention" villages (those who UVP has been working with for the past five years) and 46 "control" villages which have yet to benefit from UVP programs.

Some of the concerns in the survey: Household access to safe and clean water. (Bulowooza Village)

The data is intended to provide formative feedback to UVP and develop recommendations for activities to reach desirable goals related to malaria, HIV, reproductive health/family planning, obstetric fistula, WASH (Water, Hygiene and Sanitation) and VHT training. This will guarantee strategies that will propel health care services in Iganga. 

Edited by Tiffany Hsieh

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