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Analytics in real time can help monitor the quality of public service delivery

Pulse Lab Kampala
Jun 15, 2016

Pulse Lab Kampala is collaborating closely with the Ugandan government on various projects to monitor the quality of public service delivery in real-time as Uganda has prioritized monitoring and evaluation in its National Development Plan. This National Development Plan states that: “The need is for comprehensive data availability. Adequate baseline, performance, monitoring and survey data are crucial components for effective assessment of policy and programme results. It is therefore necessary to enhance investment in timely data collection, management and dissemination at all levels.” Incorporating big data and real-time analytics could greatly improve the Government’s ability to monitor the quality of public service delivery.

Currently, most programmes do not make use of real-time analytics to track progress. The common practice for programmes is to identify a set of indicators as the benchmark to assess implementation. As the programme advances, activities and progress are tracked on a monthly or quarterly basis, which results in reports as a final monitoring product.

In for example, a programme to improve access to health services, indicators to monitor implementation can be the number of patients that have access, are using, and are satisfied with the health services provided under the programme. The means of verification could be a satisfaction survey conducted in the population around a health centre on a quarterly basis. ‘Early signal’ indicators can also be collected by selecting a small group of beneficiaries whose experiences are assessed continuously and systematically through periodic surveys on a monthly basis.

However, the availability of digital datasets is changing the way we can monitor programme implementation. With the use of data science and real-time analysis of indicators, progress can be monitored on a daily or weekly basis, depending on the available data and requirements of the project. Access to such near real-time information allows for faster response and adjustment of programmes.

During a workshop held in June, Pulse Lab Kampala invited a wide range of stakeholders to brainstorm on how real-time monitoring can be incorporated into assessing the quality of public service delivery.  The workshop gathered over 60 representatives from UN-agencies, NGO’s and the private sector . After understanding the basics of big data and the implications of monitoring in real-time, participants were able to truly grasp the power of receiving feedback on their programmes in real-time. They came up with many suggestions around the real-time analysis of data on, for example, the supply of water and electricity, crime, vehicle traffic and the protection of wildlife.

New data sources such as call centre logs, utility records and even satellite images are available and usable in monitoring the quality of public service delivery programmes in real-time. During the interactive sessions, the Pulse Lab Kampala team showcased examples of applications that use data from these different sources.

Dr. Eddie Mukooyo, Assistant Commissioner of Health Services at the Ministry of Health’s Resource Centre, attended the session and expressed his enthusiasm in working with the Lab.  “I am personally convinced of the value of the applications developed by Pulse Lab Kampala. In collaboration with the Lab, the Ministry of Health is implementing new approaches that use the Ministry’s data, analyzed with Big Data Analytics techniques, in applications that help to address disease outbreaks and to assess the quality of health services delivery.”

Pulse Lab Kampala will continue to illustrate how the real-time analysis of data can help improve the quality of public service delivery and ultimately help achieve the Global Goals.

Read more on using big data in monitoring and evaluation of programmes. If you’re interested in knowing what real-time analysis can do for your programme, contact us at pulselabkampala@unglobalpulse.org

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