Data for decision-making is a critical component of the The Challenge Initiative (TCI) and is incorporated into all stages of its technical support to cities in India as well as cities in the 11 other countries engaged with TCI. TCI coaches and mentors stakeholders on data-driven decision-making throughout the its period of engagement (typically about 3 years).
TCI India has been working with the health department in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh (UP), for several years now to strengthen the city’s urban family planning program. As a result, Kanpur is in TCI’s pre-graduation phase. As part of technical assistance, TCI India supported the Chief Medical Officer of Kanpur in creating a pool of “master coaches” at the city level to ensure implementation of TCI’s localized high impact practices (HIPs) and other interventions after TCI’s direct support ends.
Priyansh Shrestha is a Divisional Urban Health Consultant for the National Urban Health Mission (NUHM) in Kanpur. He is also a TCI master coach who previously worked in various development organizations in other states across India, such as Assam, Haryana, and Bihar. Priyansh shared what has been unique for him in the engagement with TCI.
Prior to TCI, family planning in urban areas was focused mainly during the World Population Day fortnight, which includes sterilization services. With TCI’s support, we’ve taken a much broader approach to urban family planning. TCI initially supported us by demonstrating interventions. It coached us on micro-level analysis of family planning data at the health facilities and Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA) level also.
We learned the steps for implementing HIPs and gradually began leading interventions and coaching sessions ourselves. I coached the medical officer-in-charge (MOICs), the Urban Health Coordinator, the FPLMIS Manager, the HMIS Manager, data entry operators, and others through in-person and group coaching sessions.
I have coached my coachees on identifying data errors and inconsistencies, validating data, data analysis, interpretation of data, and fixing errors and resolving issues by formulating action plans. Prior to district-level review meetings, I categorize facilities as high-performing, medium-performing or low-performing in order to present urban family planning HMIS data. This aided our department in making timely course corrections and in planning technical training for service providers on IUCDs and new contraceptives, training of ASHAs and UPHC staff on FPLMIS online indenting, shifting trained service providers to facilities where service providers were unavailable, timely arrangement of family planning products and equipment at facilities, streamlining ASHA incentive payments and providing coaching support to all frontline workers.
The service providers’ skills were developed through coaching. They review monthly family planning data, take data-driven decisions at the facility-level meetings and display graphical forms of monthly HMIS data at the facility now.
Prioritizing data collection and analysis, as well as cultivating a culture of ongoing coaching has improved results for Kanpur. This had a significant impact on the annual client volume at the city. The HMIS data itself narrates the story of Kanpur’s progress in urban family planning.”
I have always emphasized improving the division’s overall performance. In Kanpur’s divisional cities, I used a similar coaching strategy. I utilized divisional level meetings to coach and mentor divisional city government officials on data use. Kanpur’s increase in urban family planning data attracted the interest of divisional cities. They learned and adapted key evidence-based interventions, such as fixed-day static services, urban ASHA strengthening, convergence, data for decision-making, and mapping and listing. Two divisional cities, Farrukhabad and Etawah, demanded TCI’s technical support, and the government of UP approved their request. When Farrukhabad and Etawah were in the start-up stage, I facilitated the study tour of these cities’ master coaches and facilitated the first CCC meeting to sensitize urban stakeholders on catering to the family planning needs of the urban poor. I am happy today Farrukhabad and Etawah are in TCI’s surge stage.
Regular data analysis, coaching and review enabled the health department to strengthen urban structures by focusing on interventions that brought significant changes in urban family planning. TCI’s influence will live on in my memory as effective use of data will continue to sustain the impact created by TCI in Kanpur.”