The Punjab Health Sector Reform Program (PHSRP) of Punjab Government’s Health Department has developed a project they call, “Monitoring the Monitors”. As the name implies, health monitors tasked with visiting health facilities in their area will be required to enter data in an ODK-enabled phone.
In their detailed “PHSRP – Monitoring the Monitors” whitepaper, Program Director Farasat Iqbal says, “Our traditional monitoring system had many weaknesses which we wanted to overcome. The practical situation is that the current system is irregular and unreliable.”
Their report goes on to note, “_Along with recording indicators like non-functional equipment, non-available medicines and absent staff, the supervisors will take a self-photo that will be submitted along with the data. The submitted data automatically pops up on a map in real-time with GPS accuracy of five meters. This data can be monitored by senior officials and back-end auditors. </p>
These applications effectively help in solving two key issues: data collection and field attendance. Conventionally, the field staff and those who monitor them, (occasionally) fill in paper reports that are sent to the head offices, entered into a database, and analyzed. This process, even when done as per official guidelines, takes weeks to generate the final reports. Unfortunately, the reality is that official processes are fully implemented. Visits are irregular, data is not recorded, or not submitted in an analyzable format, making monitoring difficult.
With this mobile-based intervention, there is no need to fill in long paper-based forms. Data is validated and entered directly into the database automatically. Secondly, the requisition of taking self-photos ensures that the form is filled in by the person himself. Moreover, the phones have GPS which means that the exact location where the data is entered is recorded along with the data.</em>”