Since 2011, in partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO) Department of Reproductive Health and Research (RHR), the United Nations Foundation (UNF) has been supported by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad) to oversee three yearly rounds of grants to mHealth projects. A total of 26 organizations received financial investments and technical assistance towards the goal of demonstrating potential for scaling up digital health innovations to catalyse achievement of the health-focused United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The research and technical support provided through this mechanism, with assistance from the Johns Hopkins University Global mHealth Initiative (JHU-GmI), have afforded numerous opportunities to engage with and learn from implementing partners on the ground, across Asia and Africa.
This resource represents the collective learning from five years of engagement with agencies working to strengthen their digital health deployments, develop robust evaluations, and scale up their activities nationally and regionally. The lessons learnt from working with these partners are described in this document, which provides high-level guidance and systematic direction to programme planners and implementers embarking on similar journeys. Specifically, this Guide provides an introduction to the approaches and methods that were identified as useful for (i) the monitoring of project (i.e. intervention) deployments, focusing on the quality and fidelity of the intervention inputs; and (ii) the evaluation of project outputs and impacts across a number of axes, from user satisfaction to process improvements, health outcomes and cost–effectiveness.
Although more in-depth texts and curricula are available on the methods discussed, this Guide focuses on presenting pragmatic highlights and experience-informed tips for implementers to consider, together with links and resources for further study. It leads the reader through the development of value “claims”, evaluation designs and indicators associated with their digital health intervention, an assessment of the quality and availability of the data from their intervention, and finally, a series of guidelines for the reporting of findings.
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