Factors influencing use of data for decision making in community health prevention programmes: a case study of Aphiaplus, Nuru ya Bonde Nakuru county
Wanyoike, Joel K
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There has been a recurrent question on whether funders and organizations use evidence based approaches to determine which programme to fund and whether they routinely assess the success of community based programmes using data. Research shows that a lot of emphasis has been placed on evidence based medical practice as less attention is paid on evidence based interventions outside medical zone where preventive health promotion activities take place in the communities. While several studies conducted in different countries acknowledge the fact that most community health programmes collect a lot of rich data, little is known about how that data is used to facilitate decision making process. The main objective of this study was therefore to determine the factors associated with using data for decision making in APHIA Plus community health programme within Nakuru County. The study used a case study design and applied qualitative data collection method. Interview schedules were used to collect qualitative data from nine individuals who were in charge of decision making in the nine organizations that were sampled through a census methodology. To triangulate responses from organizations more data was gathered from six APHIAPlus technical officers who oversee implementation of activities by the nine organizations. APHIA Plus project has a total of nine organizations working within Nakuru County. Data regarding characteristics of respondents, behavioral factors, technical factors and organizational factors was collected. Qualitative data was analyzed using NVIVO software version 10 and presented by grouping common emerging themes under each factor. Findings from the study revealed that majority of the respondents felt motivated to collect and use data for decision making despite the challenges they face on consistency, validity and completeness of the data. The respondents do not appreciate the process of collecting and compiling data as it was found to be time a consuming and tiring exercise whose returns were low. Most of the respondents mentioned they did not have the capacity to analyze and interpret data for decision making while the technical support provided to managers in the organizations was insufficient. In addition, the respondents felt that APHIAPlus did not promote the use of data for decision making and inadequate resources had been allocated for data related activities. Most respondents cited receiving performance feedback from APHIAPlus to strengthen their community activities. In conclusion, analysis revealed that behavioral, technical and organizational factors were found to be associated with the use of data for decision making. While the managers are motivated to understand and use data for decision making, the study revealed that they do not have technical capacity, inadequate resources have been allocated for data activities and lack of commitment to promote the use of data by APHIAPlus may contribute to the lax in data use. The results point to the need for training on data, motivation, sensitization of staff on data use, adequate resource allocation to data activities and promoting the culture of data use within the organizations.