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May 24, 2013

Bloomberg School Receives $15 Million to Develop Mobile Device Data Collection System to Monitor Family Planning Initiatives

The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health was awarded a $15 million five-year grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to implement a mobile device-based data collection system to monitor progress in family planning access and quality of care in some of the poorest countries in the developing world. The grant will establish a durable platform for rapid and frequent performance monitoring to assess populations’ access to and uptake of quality family planning care.

Known as Performance, Monitoring and Accountability 2020 (PMA2020), the project will track key indicators for contraceptive demand, supply, use and quality of care in low-income countries. The countries to be engaged participated in last year’s London Summit on Family Planning. At the summit, $2.6 billion was committed by donors and more than 20 developing countries made commitments to increase access to contraceptives for an additional 120 million women and girls by 2020.

“This innovative work will use advanced information technologies to monitor performance. This new approach can increase the effectiveness of family planning care, and is applicable to a broad range of public health needs in low-resource settings, such as child immunization, nutrition and safe water,” said Michael J. Klag, MD, MPH, dean of the Bloomberg School of Public Health.

“We are excited to work with Johns Hopkins University on this cutting edge approach to performance monitoring.” said Chris Elias, president of Global Development at the Gates Foundation. “Tracking progress is critical to advancing FP2020 and helping women plan their families.”

PMA2020 will be based at the Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health at Johns Hopkins. According to Amy Tsui, PhD, director of the Gates Institute, surveyors who reside at sentinel sites will use mobile phones to compete surveys nationally representative of households and service delivery facilities. The data collectors will use the Open Data Kit software on mobile devices, such as smart phones and tablets, for the annual surveys. Data will be transmitted through smart phones to central servers for tabulation and processing into tables, graphs and maps that are then shared with the community, health providers and other national and international stakeholders. Ghana, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Uganda, Senegal, Kenya, Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of Congo, Indonesia and India are among the countries expected to participate.

“PMA2020 will strengthen country-level monitoring capacity and forecasting models,” said Tsui. “PMA2020 will help the global community track progress and advance the goals of the London Summit on Family Planning.”

Scott Radloff, former Director of the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Office of Population and Reproductive Health, will direct PMA2020. He recently joined the Bloomberg School’s faculty in the Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health and brings exceptional leadership in global population policy and analysis to Johns Hopkins. Radloff will be joined by Jose Rimon II, who became the Gates Institute’s deputy director last fall. “PMA2020 brings two of the world’s leading experts in family planning and reproductive health to our Department,” said Dr. Robert Blum, William H. Gates Sr. Professor and Chair of the Population, Family and Reproductive Health Department

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health media contact: Tim Parsons at 410-955-7619 or tmparson@jhsph.edu.