Early Lessons From Ethiopia in Establishing a Data Triangulation Process to Analyze Immunization Program and Supply Data for Decision Making
Strengthening data use and quality is critical to achieving high, equitable immunization coverage. One approach that is being increasingly recognized as effective in improving data use and quality is data triangulation, which can provide more information for decision making in public health programs. In Ethiopia, immunization program data has had ongoing quality challenges, including timeliness, completeness, and accuracy. Some data are reported through different systems to different departments, and coordination between departments is limited. JSI, through the Universal Immunization through Improving Family Health Services (UI-FHS) project, introduced a data review process and an Excel tool for triangulating immunization program data and vaccine supply data to improve data quality and programmatic decision making. The user-friendly Immunization Data Triangulation Tool (IDTT) provides decision-support information—such as scoring of districts based on performance—and suggests follow-up actions. It also highlights gaps between vaccines supplied and consumed and helps managers determine the next steps to address programmatic, supply, or data quality issues. The data review process and IDTT were rolled out in 2 regions in Ethiopia. UI-FHS documented learning to understand the feasibility of the IDTT’s application as a decision-making tool by conducting key informant interviews and observing how the IDTT was used at monthly data review meetings. Health managers who used the tool reported ease of use and clear benefits, including more accessible and synthesized data, which prompted decision making and actions to improve services and supply, such as expanding the number of immunization sites. Challenges with the availability of vaccine supply data hindered managers' ability to leverage triangulated data fully, but the data triangulation process prompted cross-departmental collaboration to address this gap. These early findings show promise in the ability of immunization programs to successfully use triangulated data to address challenges and provide lessons for introducing new tools or processes into health systems.