Madagascar's Costed Implementation Plan for Family Planning: Rolling Out the Online Performance Monitoring Dashboard
The costed implementation plan (CIP) online performance monitoring dashboard is streamlining the day-to-day work of Madagascar’s Family Planning Service.
“Using the monitoring dashboard is very important for our daily operations,” explained Dr. Haingonirina Ramananjanahara (known as Dr. Haingo), former head of the Family Planning Service within Madagascar’s Ministry of Public Health. “Before, we had to call each individual partner to collect data; now, we just have to look at the online dashboard.”
The Ministry of Public Health is supported by the USAID-funded Health Policy Plus (HP+) project, which has worked in Madagascar since 2016. When assisting public health decisionmakers at the ministry, HP+ consistently emphasizes the importance of using data to inform program planning, strategy development, and policymaking. However, the quality of available data in Madagascar varies due to weaknesses in communication, timeliness of collection, and accuracy of recording. This data unreliability poses a significant challenge for the ministry and the Family Health Directorate.
Conscious of this issue, HP+ has been supporting the Family Planning Service and the Multisectoral Committee for Family Planning to conduct two annual reviews to evaluate the execution of and investment in Madagascar’s CIP for Family Planning—the country’s roadmap to achieving family planning goals. HP+ provides technical and financial support to the Family Planning Service team as it hosts these annual reviews. HP+ helps to prepare terms of reference, coordinate information sharing and communication, and, most importantly, collect and analyze data.
“The use of data is important because it affects people. As part of the advocacy plan established during the HP+-led AFP SMART advocacy training, we were taught to first get to know the decisionmaker, and then the data that will affect him or her,” Dr. Haingo shared. “According to our FP2020 workplan, we carry out quarterly monitoring of all planned activities. With regard to the FP2020 commitment: the strategic activities and the CIP fulfill the monitoring and evaluation aspects of FP2020.”
The Madagascar performance monitoring dashboard was originally based in Microsoft Excel; this format remains a valuable tool for many countries monitoring CIPs. However, Madagascar’s Family Planning Service has made effective use of a newer, web-based version, which HP+ developed using the DHIS2 platform. The online dashboard was first introduced during an extended semi-annual review meeting in February 2020. Leading up to the meeting, HP+ supplied significant technical assistance, including contributing to the preparation of presentations and key documents, helping the Family Health Directorate to facilitate the review, and providing financial support.
Additionally, two specialists from HP+ headquarters trained 25 members of the Family Planning Committee to effectively use the new web-based dashboard. Stakeholders were given one of two different accounts: one for those doing data entry and another limited to data visualization. Throughout the workshop, representatives from the Ministry of Public Health, the Ministry of Population, the Ministry of Youth and Sport, and public- and private-sector family planning partners provided data needed to update the dashboard. Then, once the data were approved, HP+ taught government personnel and partners to enter their own data into the web-based dashboard, a functionality that has proven enormously helpful to the Family Planning Service.
One of the most innovative features of the online dashboard is the automatic generation of graphs to facilitate data analysis and interpretation. With HP+ support, all stakeholders were able to analyze Madagascar’s achievements and correct errors related to data entry and targets, which will help the country make even greater strides in the realm of family planning.
“Now, our department can easily respond to information requests from senior [ministry] leadership because the dashboard allows us to export charts and graphs that are easy to read and interpret. The dashboard, which my team and I are already mastering, helps us significantly with planning by understanding progress, achievements, and future opportunities,” said Dr. Haingo. Though she is no longer with the Family Planning Service, Dr. Haingo transferred her knowledge and skills to her team before moving on. “I thank HP+ very much for all the capacity strengthening activities. They have been enormously beneficial to my work.”