Determine the Frequency of Data Collection and Sharing

Once indicators and targets are established, it is important to determine how often the data should be collected. In an emergency, data collection should occur frequently so as to monitor the evolution of the outbreak and how populations respond. It is recommended to review data on a daily or weekly basis.

As the emergency starts to subside, data collection can be less frequent. Data should be collected throughout the emergency response to monitor progress, and at the end of the intervention to evaluate outcomes.

For data collection to help monitor and inform implementation, it needs to be accompanied by data analysis and sharing. This is especially important during an emergency when all partners and stakeholders need to be informed of the evolution of the outbreak.

The two-way communication systems or feedback loops (discussed in Unit 1: Coordination & Mapping and in Unit 3: Community Mobilization) allow for regular monitoring of activities and information sharing. Information sharing can also occur at regular coordination meetings, through discussions with the response cell, surveillance officers, health workers, spokespeople and community mobilizers. Importantly, these communication systems need to be decided and agreed upon early in the response, as highlighted in Units 1 and 3.

Tips for Data Collection to Monitor Indicators

  • Set up communication systems with all stakeholders at the start of the emergency response for regular monitoring of activities and information sharing. Such systems may include coordination meetings, supervision and regular feedback with stakeholders, forms for collecting data, relevant committees and community mobilizers, etc.
  • Ensure that all those involved know and understand the importance of providing information and feedback to monitor communication objectives.
  • Think of innovative ways of collecting data regularly such as mobile phones and other applications (see Unit 3: Community Mobilization).
  • Refer to the messages distribution plan developed for mobilizers and spokespeople (see Unit 3: Community Mobilization) to verify that messages are being delivered as planned. This includes assessing that correct information is provided through the agreed channels, that radio spots are broadcast at the planned times and in the correct way, and that materials are distributed to the correct people/organizations as planned.
  • Coordinate with the government and other partner organizations for reporting outcomes/results of monitoring activities, and ensuring that data are shared at all levels (community, national, etc.).

For more information, see How to Develop Monitoring Indicators on the HC3 Health COMpass.