NDIGD receives Sprint cell phones for research in developing countries

Author: NDIGD staff

Lakeside High School in Jinja, Uganda

The Notre Dame Initiative for Global Development (NDIGD), working in conjunction with Procurement Services, contacted mobile supplier Sprint to facilitate the donation of 20 top-of-the-line cell phones for data collection in developing countries.

Recently, monitoring and evaluation researchers at the NDIGD collected a census in Uganda’s Nnindye Parish in support of The Ford Family Program in Human Development Studies and Solidarity. The census project provides current information on the population of the Nnindye Parish, where the Ford Program has been engaged in community-led development work since 2008.

The census data was collected in November 2012 with the participation of the outreach program in the Uganda Martyrs University and 20 local enumerators that worked during nine days in the parish.

NDIGD monitoring and evaluation specialist Juan Carlos Guzman traveled to Uganda to conduct the census.

Data from the census will provide baseline information for future project activities in the parish so that impact in human development can be measured through comparison of pre- and post-test circumstances.

The census questionnaire consisted of several topics: demographics, employment, education and health access. The geographical position was also collected using the GPS technology available in the cell phones.

The evaluation research team includes the Ford Program Research Director William N. Evans and recent Notre Dame Ph.D. and current assistant professor at DePaul University, Luke Chicoine. The latter also supported the deployment of the census in December.

For the census, the team collected information from 1,212 households, 5,657 individuals and 1,161 children 5 years old or younger.

The survey found that 1,800 individuals reported being ill in the last month, and 83.5 percent consulted someone regarding the illness.

Of those who did seek medical care, only 32 percent visited the Nnindye Health Center (NHC). Another 30 percent went to a nearby hospital, and 5 percent consulted the community health care distributor.

Most of the illnesses (70 percent) lasted seven days or fewer. For minor illnesses, only 29 percent visited NHC. Interestingly, 70 percent to 75 percent of the sample report having their children vaccinated, compared to vaccination coverage of approximately 95 percent as reported by NHC.

NDIGD specializes in performing monitoring and evaluation to determine the impact for global development projects. The data collected by the research team will enable the Ford Family Program to understand the impact of the updated technology and health outcomes when health center workers are able to start sending messages—to remind women of prenatal or well-baby appointments or to spread the word when supplies such as antimalarial bed nets or vaccines become available.

The mobile health project is overseen by Ford Program Director Rev. Robert Dowd, C.S.C. Tom Marentette of the Office of Information Technology is working with the team to provide the new technology to the village health teams. He will be traveling to Uganda in mid-January to install the required systems and train the initial users.

Originally published by NDIGD staff at today.nd.edu on March 05, 2013.