Post Ebola Nutrition Data Collection
Global Health Liaisons is dedicated to using innovative strategies that improve evaluation outcomes and impact the health of the most vulnerable. After the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone Global Health Liaisons was contracted to conduct an External End of Project Evaluation for UNICEF’s nutrition program. The program aimed at improving nutrition in seven districts of Sierra Leone, many of which were hard hit by the Ebola epidemic. The evaluation provided information about the overall level of success of the nutrition program in seven Irish Aid funded districts.
The team chose a mixed-methods approach, using qualitative and quantitative data. We collected data in the seven districts, namely Bombali, Kambia, Kenema, Moyamba, Port Loko, Pujehun, and Tonkolili to assess the relevance, appropriateness, and coherence of the program. In addition, the study explored the effectiveness and efficiency of the nutrition program. We assessed the leadership, guidance and technical support, as well as overall program sustainability.
Data collection proved challenging, as it was the end of the rainy season. Rivers were swollen and peripheral health facilities were hard to reach. Our partner Keyboard Research and Social Science Institute in Freetown went to hard-to-reach communities and spoke with communities about the nutrition program. Global Health Liaisons data collection team spent two weeks collecting data about the malnutrition program in the seven districts where activities were funded by Irish Aid. In October 2016, facilities and communities were engaged during surveys and focus groups that were conducted in hard-to-reach communities. Electronic tools were used during data collection. In addition to the survey of facility staff and focus groups with mother support group leaders, key informant interviews informed the study.
They were conducted with:
- District officials
- Community health providers and mother support group representatives
- Beneficiary Caregivers
The Ebola epidemic had overwhelmed health systems. There were chunks of missing data from some districts during that time. Nonetheless, our team was able to analyze the raw data collected during and after Ebola crisis and triangulate that with the primary data we had collected in October.
The Global Health Liaisons team screened close to 2000 participants and conducted more than 700 surveys in seven districts of hard-to-reach communities of Sierra Leone. Data collection was completed in a period of two weeks.