Policy vs Practice: Two modes that reflect decision-making in the Kenyan health system

Policy: Formal, data-driven planning processes which rarely reflect the reality on the ground

Much effort was dedicated towards official, formulaic, data-based planning procedures such as annual target setting or generating workplans aimed at deciding on the use of resources and policies for the immunization program. While such activities were very strategic and relied heavily on data, they often failed to reflect the reality on the ground. The data used was widely seen as inaccurate, making targets and projections unrealistic. To compound this, the funds and resources that the planning depended on hardly materialized on time or in full.

Practice: Quick judgement calls grounded in local context, but rarely based on available data

Because many of the formal planning exercises were not sufficiently grounded in the reality on the ground, the primary way in which decisions were actually made was through a reactive response to a problem at hand, such as dealing with shortages, stockouts, or issues at the facility. Such “putting a fire out” decisions were often made very quickly and relied mostly on personal experience, rather than any formal data sets or rigid bureaucratic standards.

The Vaccine Data Discovery Research study is a joint research effort between Sonder Collective and John Snow Inc. (JSI) to apply the Human-Centered Design approach in order to uncover and prioritize data specific pain points and challenges that healthcare workers and managers at all levels within a country encounter in delivering immunization services in Kenya, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Mozambique.
Sonder Collective specializes in the application of Human-Centered Design to social and health challenges, particularly in low resource settings. The Sonder team has intensive experience conducting design research in maternal and newborn child health, sexual and reproductive health and rights, community health, health supply chains and HIV in Sub-Saharan Africa. John Snow Inc. (JSI) is a public health management consulting and research organization that works to improve health outcomes through strengthening health systems in partnership with country Governments. JSI works across immunization, maternal newborn and child health, nutrition, supply chain system design, paper based and digital information systems globally. JSI has led on immunization on USAID flagship projects like the Maternal and Child Survival Program, TSHIP and has been a key partner on MEASURE Evaluation for the past 20 years.

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Vx Data Insights

Vx Data Insights

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A Human-Centered Design study in Kenya, DRC, and Mozambique to understand how data is used for decision-making in delivering immunization services.