Roundtable report_Data collection and use in Global Fund grants
Aidspan convened a round-table discussion on data for decision-making in Global Fund against HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria grants in seven African countries – Cameroon, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Rwanda, Uganda and Zambia. The three-day meeting that took place from 14th to 16th March, 2018 in Nairobi, Kenya, drew over 50 participants representing Country Coordinating Mechanisms (CCM), State and non-State implementers, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and Local Fund Agent (LFA). The roundtable pursued shared solutions to the challenges of data collection and use in Global Fund operations in these seven countries. Discussions focused on data for: (a) appropriate decision-making in programming, (b) optimal absorption of grants, (c) efficient health product and commodity procurement, and (d) demonstrating and influencing domestic and co-financing. The roundtable discussions centered on how strengthening data systems impacts forecasting, planning and implementation. Participants noted the importance of data generators and users working well together to ensure that the data collected are analyzed and utilized to improve grant efficiency. A vibrant exchange of ideas led to countries verbally affirming their commitment to test best practices within their own contexts. One such practice is the assignment of a focal point to proactively monitor procurement expenditure, especially those conducted offshore. Thus, savings can be timely reallocated to improve grant absorption. Another valuable lesson was the timely use of data for better planning, implementation and accounting for country co-financing. Participants affirmed the importance of reliable and routine systems such as health information systems and annual national health accounts. In addition, participants encouraged the LFAs to invest in M&E capacity within their teams in order to strengthen the use of data for improved programming. It is clear that there is an ardent need for similar, regular roundtables where different country PR and SR, CCM, LFA and Global Fund secretariat can interact, listen and learn from one another in an independent setting. This report lays out in greater detail the presentations, discussions and recommendations from this learning and exchange roundtable.