Metrics Monthly Bulletin: December 2018


On November 20th, 2018 at the Canadian Conference for Global Health held in Toronto, Canada, nearly 45 passionate ‘detectives’ came together to grapple with some of the largest global health data problems alongside data experts. Each expert represented three of the six Canadian Collaboratives for Global Health (the CanWaCH “Collaborative”) and spoke on their own Lab data challenges. Learn more about the Collaborative here

Left to right: Jessica Ferne (CanWaCH); Dr. Daniel Sellen (Nutrition International); Dr. Diego Bassani (Sick Kids Centre for Global Health); Dr. Angel Foster (University of Ottawa)

Here’s what the experts had to say:

Expert: Dr. Daniel Sellen 
Lab: Improving Gender Equality & Nutrition Data for Women and Children
Lead Organizations: Nutrition International, University of Toronto; Partner: Campbell Collaboration
Metric Insight: The Lab will adapt and make use of an existing toolkit (NIMS) to achieve a model that can assess the relationship between women’s empowerment and nutritional outcomes at the household level. Dr. Sellen discussed how triangulation methods and regular data checks can serve as a way to keep tools adaptive to contexts while maintaining high-quality data and keeping costs low. He also highlighted his positive experiences with interdisciplinary partnerships and referenced the Collaborative as being a model that fosters interdisciplinary data innovation and application.

Expert: Dr. Angel Foster
Lab: Collecting data on sexual and reproductive health in humanitarian settings: A global initiative
Lead Organizations: University of Ottawa, National Abortion Federation Canada; Partner: Inter-Agency Working Group on Reproductive Health in Crises 
Metric Insight: The Lab will be leveraging the release of the Inter-Agency Field Manual on Reproductive Health in Humanitarian Settings (IAFM) (2018) - a set of global standards for assessment, monitoring and evaluation in different emergency phases.  Dr. Foster posits that the global guidelines need to be responsive to implementation challenges in two ways: 1) centring the learnings of front-line SRH Coordinators, and  2) embracing the diversity of five emergency settings to tailor SRHR data interventions to support the collection and utility of abortion and advocacy data. 

Expert: Dr. Diego Bassani
Lab: Improving measurement of sexual and reproductive health and rights, women’s empowerment and gender equality in humanitarian settings
Lead Organizations: Sick Kids Center for Global Health, Canadian Red Cross; Partners: University of Toronto, University of Manitoba, Wilfrid Laurier University, BRANCH Consortium 
Metric Insight: The Lab is taking on the challenge of identifying simpler approaches to gender-relevant analyses in conflict-affected settings where data is often unavailable. Dr. Bassani emphasizes the power of statistical predictive modelling. It can offer a solution to the “no data” barrier as it has proven to accurately predict data trends in advance of primary data collection, and can mitigate the challenge of working in time and resource-constrained settings. 

Dr. Daniel Sellen facilitating a conversation with ‘data detective’ participants. 

‘Data Detective’ Insights

‘Detectives’ consisted of Canadian and global civil society organizations, researchers, and development practitioners. They offered their own metric insights in groups facilitated by our data experts, some of which include:

  • CSOs in many places have been well-established and are an important backbone to the understanding of a community’s needs, especially in a fragile setting. 
  • Country health systems hold rich data that is sometimes static and inaccessible. Auto-generated data reports that can be simplified and visualized can provide communities with greater data ownership and utility.
  • Bringing interdisciplinary fields, such as computer science into the conversation can enable innovative data solutions that leverage technology such as Artificial Intelligence. 
  • Challenges to collaboration and data innovation include political and funding limitations to undertake data work, and often partners are unable to effectively communicate with each other.
  • User-centred data collection is key to community data engagement and ownership.
  • Ongoing concerns exist of data privacy and protection, particularly when dealing with sensitive or legal issues and its impact on affected communities.
  • There is great appetite and need for innovation in data collection, and for the creation of spaces to try new methods and interdisciplinary collaboration.

Data Resources from CanWaCH Collaboratives

UNFPA: A Guide to Tools for SRHR 

WHO Global Abortion Policies Database 

UNHCR Global Trends Forced Displacement (2017) Report 

IAWG Reproductive Health in Crises' 2012-2014 Global Evaluation 

SickKids Public Health Nutrition Course 

WHO E-Learning Platform Nutrition Knowledge Hub 

IATI Data Registry 

The Lives Saved Tool (LiST) 

World Bank: Cases in Outcome Harvesting (Evaluation) 

Learn More 

Dive deep: Global Affairs Canada's Finalized Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are now available here. Methodological notes will be shared when available. 

Explore: Browse the CanWaCH Project Explorer to see what Canadian organisations are working towards.  

Congratulations: Join us in congratulating two of CanWaCH’s Metric Working Group experts, Dr. Jenn Brenner (University of Calgary) and Dr. Erica Di Ruggiero (University of Toronto) who have been recognized by the Canadian Society for International Health (CSIH) as Canadian Women Leaders in Global Health!

Delve in: The 2018 Report of the Lancet Countdown: Tracking Progress on Health and Climate Change has been released which tracks 41 key indicators. Read more here.

Follow us: CanWaCH will be attending the Partners’ Forum hosted by the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health in New Delhi, India from December 12-13, and will be speaking on a panel on the role of evidence and data innovation. Keep up with the exciting conversations through our Twitter @CanWaCH and #PMNCH2018Live. 

Shine on: Have a superstar leader in mind? Nominate them for the 2019 CanWaCH Awards for Excellence in Women and Children’s Health here! Categories include Measuring Impact, Gender Equality and more.