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.

Service Statistics Initiative Overview

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:

  • Advance global awareness and understanding of the possibilities for and limitations of making greater use of family planning service statistics to more actively monitor national progress in reaching family planning goals and objectives
  • Develop a suite of approaches and products that will support the more productive use of service statistics