Using M&E Data to Reduce Stockouts

Meg Galas

Take Stock Campaign | Manager

Priya Emmart

Avenir Health | Senior M&E Specialist, Track20
A stock card for oral contraceptives at a health facility in Matola, Mozambique. © 2012 Arturo Sanabria, Courtesy of Photoshare

A stock card for oral contraceptives at a health facility in Matola, Mozambique. © 2012 Arturo Sanabria, Courtesy of Photoshare

In 2015, FP2020 published the first round of country-level data that reported on the stockout indicators developed and tested by members of the Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition. Priya Emmart, Senior M&E Specialist for Track20 in the Center for M&E at Avenir Health, leads analysis of the stockout indicators data. I spoke to her to learn how having comparable stockout data will contribute to resolving stockouts, reducing unmet need, and achieving the FP2020 goals.

Priya, please tell me a bit about Track20?

Track20 was established in 2012 to track progress on the global FP2020 initiative. Track20 uses new tools and methodology derived from global consensus to analyse data on the FP2020 indicators for the 69 countries, which are the focus of the initiative. The purpose is to have data that allows us to monitor progress toward the FP2020 commitments.

The FP2020 initiative will measure progress by a headline indicator, “number of additional users,” and intends to achieve 120 million additional users by 2020 compared to 2012. In addition to this indicator, the initiative now monitors progress along 17 core indicators.

To understand if we are on the right trajectory collectively, we have needed to change the way we measure as well as what we measure. An important initial challenge was to develop tools to measure change for common indicators across countries during the same time frame. Prior to the initiative, we relied on data from periodic surveys and on inconsistently defined indicators at the country level. We now need information on an annual basis and also require common definitions and methods for calculation.

Track20 has developed tools to produce these annual estimates for 69 countries; in addition, we work in pledging countries to maximize the quality and availability of service statistics data, including information on stockouts.

Where does Track20 get the stockout data?

At Track20, it is very important to maximize all the different types of data. For the stockouts and supply data, we had a vision for collecting data and building a larger database on commodity availability. We knew we would not have information for most countries at the beginning.

We rely heavily on the UNFPA Supplies surveys. UNFPA is a key partner to FP2020, and they made a commitment to expand the number of surveys to 44 countries from only 10.

In our last report, we used UNFPA supplies survey data for Indicator 10, but lacked data for stockouts by range of methods (Indicators 11a and b). We used the PMA2020 data from four countries. PMA2020 asks detailed questions about commodity availability, so in our last report we relied on PMA2020 data for Core Indicator #11, the percentage of service delivery points with at least three modern methods of contraception available. Since questions on Core Indicator #11 weren’t asked in UNFPA surveys, we only had data from four countries.

We also get data from the countries where Track20 works. We hoped that we would get more data from other organizations; unfortunately, a lot of stockout data was not made available to publish in a global report.

Are there enough trained staff to collect stockout data?

This is an important question. The data on stock availability at the facility level is not difficult to collect, and most countries routinely collect it. However, this information may be lost between the facility reports and higher-level aggregation, which may mean that the data is not routinely used.

How many countries can we expect to report stockout data for 2016?

That’s the $1,000,000 question!

In terms of the core indicators, we hope to get at least the same number of countries for Core Indicator #10, the Universal Stockout Indicator that tells us the percentage of facilities stocked out, by method offered. In 2015, 14 of 29 countries collected stockout data.

For Core Indicator #11, we will for sure have data from all eight of the PMA2020 countries. We also have been working closely with RHSC, UNFPA Supplies, and JSI to change the current survey questionnaires so that we may have data from UNFPA survey countries.

And we will have the Track20 countries, some of which overlap with PMA2020. So, we hope to have 20 countries fully reporting. That’s ambitious!

What do you think will change now that that we have stockout data?

I think the stockout indicators have done something important. Stockout data is a family planning program indicator measuring how efficiently the program is running.

The data has really focused our efforts and attention on the management information actually usable to a country’s family planning program manager in terms of stock availability. We have a lot of data on stockouts [at a central level] but in reality, we have had very little information from the facility level shared with family planning program managers. FP2020 has made us focus on what we can do at the country level to help program managers improve their programs.