Baseline data collection is resource and time intensive, especially for the NGOs that invest in conducting baseline surveys. Most data collected in LMICs may already exist in publicly available data sets, but the data is underutilized. This is coupled with quality issues, such as small sample size and a lack of analytical capacity in staff human resources. This project aimed to assess complex questions: Do NGOs need to conduct baseline surveys for program design and evaluation? Can publicly available data, such as from Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS) or Demographic and Health Surveys Program (DHS), be used instead? The ‘MaxData’ project aimed to identify indicators related to maternal and child health that could be estimated using publically available data in the context of low- and middle-income countries. A second objective was to assess the impact of differences in year, geographical level and season in the estimation of indicators.
The partners aimed to: (1) Develop a hypothesis: With extensive background research completed, the Lab partners will build their dataset of NGO baseline reports, and select publicly available data from the Demographic and Health Surveys Program (DHS) and Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS). This can provide valid estimates of baseline conditions for certain health and social indicators, saving time and resources, and reducing the burden on data collectors and respondents.(2) Test a hypothesis: In conducting modelling and analyses, partners investigate the validity of using publicly available data to complement or replace baseline data collection of NGOs related to maternal, newborn and child health in several LMICs, by comparing indicators obtained from both sources.(3) Develop tools and sharing learnings: Depending on the result of hypothesis, learnings will be shared and if applicable, recommendations will be developed on the use of publicly available data. Knowledge translation of project outputs using webinars, academic papers, lunch & learns and other partnership opportunities.(4) Knowledge translation of project outputs using webinars, academic papers, lunch & learns and other partnership opportunities.
• Partners meeting held to coordinate project kick-off and to review and agree upon work plans and research protocols. • Consulted expertise from Statistics 4 Sustainable Development to refine modelling relationship between non-governmental organizations (NGOs) baseline data and Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) Program and Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS) estimates. • Completed the selection and analysis of publicly available data with multiple select years of DHS and MICS to compare to the NGO data to test the stability of indicators over longer periods of time.• Completed database gathering of 46 baseline reports covering 23 low-and middle income countries. NGO’s baseline reports were supplied by partners using a convenience sample. Selected NGOs’ baseline report and matched publicly available data from DHS/MICS produced an extraction of over 100 indicators that were compiled and analyzed. •Case studies conducted by partner CCIHP to compare baseline data from project data implemented in Son La province of Vietnam and data from the MICS for Vietnam.• Project dissemination workshop led by partner CCIHP in Vietnam with 30 participants, including monitoring and evaluation experts, researchers and project officers from NGOs and academic institutions.