Track20 is built around using all available data to better inform monitoring and planning. A key focus of this work is to make greater use of service statistics- this includes working to improve the quality of service statistics and to improve how the data is used to monitor progress.
For the past 25 years or so, the international family planning community has come to rely on large-scale national surveys such as the DHS and MICS to track progress in national family planning programs. At the same time, family planning service statistics that are produced as a byproduct of service delivery and are available in all countries tend to under-utilized. As a result, (1) family planning program progress tends to be seriously assessed only infrequently (every 3-5 years depending upon frequency of national surveys) and (2) there is limited quality data available at sub-national levels in most countries with which to monitor and plan. In countries with decentralized governments and family planning programs, this significantly limits the extent to which local governments and programs can be data-driven.
Ideally, national FP program monitoring would rely more on routinely collected data in order to able to detect and respond to implementation issues and opportunities on relatively frequent basis (e.g., annually). Track20 envisions a new approach to family planning program monitoring that will supplement data from household surveys with improved service statistics that are reviewed and analyzed annually, widely disseminated and discussed in-country, and used to guide program improvements.
In order for this to happen, a "re-positioning" of service statistics needs to take place. Indeed, among the main reasons for the current over-reliance on large-scale surveys are perceptions of poor quality service statistics in many countries and the challenging processes/high costs involved in reforming national service statistics systems. However, defective data can still be useful if used properly, and due to advances in information technology and growing demand for geographically disaggregated data, Track20 perceives that the time is right to revisit the collection and use of service statistics. Accordingly, Track20 is leading a global learning initiative to better understand the current global service statistics situation and the possibilities for and merits of taking greater advantage of this asset to provide more timely, trusted program tracking data.
The main objectives of this initiative are to:
Service Statistics are data routinely recorded at Service Delivery Points (SDPs) in connection with family planning (FP) Service Delivery
Service Statistics include information such as:
Reliance on large-scale surveys to track FP program results leaves many countries in a difficult situation with regard to developing annual estimates of FP2020 core indicators and other indicators appropriately measured at the population level. In the absence of direct measurements from annual surveys, many countries are compelled to project trends in key indicators (e.g., mCPR, Unmet Need) since the last large-scale survey into the future until data from the next large-scale survey become available.
Track20, in collaboration with UNPD & Amherst has developed a methodology/tool (FPET) for developing annual estimates of key family planning indicators: CPR, mCPR, Unmet Need and Demand Satisfied. In an effort to provide better estimates in the periods between surveys, Service Statistics can be used in the model to inform trends and improve projections.
FPET uses population level values from representative surveys to inform estimates of CPR, mCPR, Unmet Need and Demand Satisfied. While we cannot produce these values using service statistics, we can develop a proxy for mCPR based on service statistics that can be used in FPET. We call this proxy the "EMU" or Estimated Method Use. Using service statistics in conjunction with population data and CYP factors, we develop an estimate of the number of women using a modern method in a given year and compare that value and trend to available survey values for mCPR.
If the service statistics data meets a series of criteria, we develop the EMU, and incorporate the data into our FPET estimates to produce more accurate/up to date estimates and projections of key population indicators.
What type of data systems are countries using to record and report family planning service data? What indicators are countries measuring via the collected in these service statistics systems? To provide some insights into these issues, Track20 complied information from several sources: