Bloomberg School Receives $25M from Gates Foundation for Health Data

(3BL Media/Justmeans) – According to Chris Elias, president of the Global Development Program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, increasing the availability and use of data is a public health intervention in its own right. Mobile phone can be a simple yet powerful tool to collect such data through rapid-turnaround, nationally representative surveys that measure household well-being and health program performance.

The Performance Monitoring and Accountability 2020 (PMA2020) project of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health is using mobile phones to support its data collection activities across Africa and Asia. The project has now received a $25 million grant from the Gates Foundation. PMA2020 data is informing policies, programs and tracking family planning progress in 12 geographies, by providing decision-makers with high-quality, more cost-effective data every 6 to 12 months.

The grant is being implemented by the Bill & Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health at the Bloomberg School and supports survey data collection through a network of local university and research partners.Michael J. Klag, dean of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, has seen the current project in action in Ethiopia.

Klag says that the surveys are implemented through local university and research partners such as Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia, University of Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Makerere University in Uganda. PMA2020 recruits women from their communities and trains them to use smartphones to collect data on a continuous basis.

The project is initially focused on family planning, but plans are afoot to expand data collection to other health sectors, including water and sanitation, maternal and newborn health, primary health care, and adolescent health. With this expansion, the platform can help countries track performance under the United Nations’ post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals and improve vital registration systems.

According to Jose “Oying” Rimon, director of the Gates Institute, the project is igniting a revolution in how data is collected. The Institute looks forward to continuing to build upon the PMA2020 platform and respond to the growing worldwide demand for high-quality, fast-turnaround data that empower governments and local stakeholders to make evidence-based policy decisions and to make mid-course corrections when needed.

Source: News Wise

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