We recently talked with Phoebe Meyer, the Monitoring and Evaluation Coordinator for HAS. She is responsible for ensuring that HAS can collect information needed on programs and projects – to gauge their effectiveness and contribute to better outcomes at the hospital. Learn more about Phoebe’s role in her own words.
Monitoring & Evaluation (M&E) plays a vital role at HAS. What exactly does this work involve?
Monitoring includes internal and external reporting. We are making sure we’re doing what we set out to do by tracking certain indicators. Evaluation refers to determining whether a program can or is achieving the goals it sets out to achieve, and how well. An important aspect of monitoring and evaluation is that any information collected is fed back into programs, so that managers can make any adjustments and can make informed decisions.
What do you do as Monitoring and Evaluation Coordinator?
At HAS, we have a lot of grant funded activities, so it’s important that we ensure we collect the data on indicators we need for reporting on this. I now do this on a monthly basis, which makes it much easier to follow up on missing data and to assess the progression of a project. This data is something Rachel Fort (Director – Programs, Partnerships, and Quality Improvement) and I refer back to regularly. We also have reporting that needs to be generated for our own senior management, so we try to include that in the monthly reporting wherever possible too.
More recently, I have been looking to introduce more evaluations into our work. This month, we will begin an evaluation on the sexual and reproductive education that we do with community members. I am hoping this evaluation will help us improve our teaching, both style and content, and will help educators refocus on issues that may be harder to address.
Our information management also falls within my responsibilities, including our EMR system. I have plans to pilot reporting changes in the hospital beginning at the end of this year and early next year.
I am also responsible for overseeing any research projects. The last 2 summers I have worked with groups from Columbia University and I am currently working with Dr. Toussaint, our HoD for Pediatrics on a mortality/morbidity dataset I collected on the NICU.
What is your background? What brought you to Haiti?
I’m originally from England, but grew up in Australia. I received a Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Political Science at Otago University in New Zealand and a Master’s in Public Health at the University of Sydney. Before coming to Haiti, I was working in continuous improvement and quality for The Salvation Army Australia’s homelessness services, and before joining HAS I spent a year in Léogâne, Haiti working on community nutrition programming.
What is something you love about your job?
I enjoy thinking about systems and how we can solve problems with the resources available, and I enjoy working with our different teams. As there are so many different programs at HAS, there is a lot of variety in my work. I am excited about the evaluation we are beginning this month as I have been able to train our trainee-nurses as enumerators for the project. They have all been really enthusiastic at the opportunity to learn a new skill, and it’s always rewarding to share a skill or knowledge with our teams here.
Why do you think M&E is important at HAS?
M&E is important for all organizations! Without good data to inform decisions, it’s hard to make good decisions. In general, for an NGO there is an important obligation to act as good custodians of donations, and measuring and trying to improve what we do is an important element of that. For HAS in particular, we undertake a lot of grant funded activities. This means we need to demonstrate the grant’s outcomes, and M&E is responsible for this. M&E can also help move an organization forward. HAS is an older organization, so it is important to periodically reconsider how we deliver programs that have existed for some time. This is something evaluations, in particular, contribute to.
What are some of the successes and challenges with M&E at HAS?
Our patient record management is an ongoing challenge for us at HAS. We have to do a certain amount of hard-copy record keeping which is mandated by Haiti’s ministry of health (MSPP) and that makes switching entirely to EMR difficult. As I mentioned, I’m hoping to pilot some new reporting for the wards at the end of this year or early next year. Hopefully this will reduce some of the administrative burden on our nursing management – which would mean more time for their nurses and patients! The system as it stands presents various problems with accuracy and completeness, so we are always looking to explore options to improve this.
Another challenge for M&E is that we aren’t a department with our own budget, so anything we do needs to go through another department. Sometimes those challenges create opportunities, like our trainee-nurses learning to be enumerators, but it does mean we need to work at collaborating.
Where would you like to see M&E go in the future?
I would like to see HAS introducing evaluations for all community programs as a standard element of programming. We need to be always looking to improve and ensure programs are based on best available evidence, which can be informed by evaluation. Equally, we would like to see more quality indicators for the hospital, as this can also help to improve patient care and often at little cost. However, more indicators can mean more reporting, and at present we don’t want to increase the reporting burden on our hospital staff.
Please consider an unrestricted donation today to support monitoring and evaluation efforts at the hospital.