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OCR for page 6
INFORMATION SYSTEMS AND MEASUREMENT FOR ASSESSING PROGRAM EFFECTS: IMPLICATIONS FOR FAMILY PLANNING PROGRAMS IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES: SUMMARY OF AN EXPERT MEETING COMMODITY AND OTHER SUPPLY INVENTORIES Timothy Miner discussed the importance of monitoring the stock and flow of contraceptives in order to ensure that: (1) they arrive where they are needed in a timely and safe manner and (2) to make short-term (up to two years) forecasts for procurements. These assessments are made about once a year and provide data that can identify fluctuations in inventories that may indicate surplus or insufficient contraceptive stocks. These data can also be used to calculate couple-years of protection (CYP), a measure of contraceptive protection, by extrapolating from the quantity of contraceptives that are dispensed to clients. He noted that there are several problems associated with using CYP data, however. First, data are not always available to assess the quantity of contraceptives dispensed directly to clients; therefore, quantities distributed from warehouses to clinics are often used as proxies. Second, even if accurate data on contraceptives dispensed to clients are available, it is unknown whether the clients actually use the contraceptives. Miner pointed out that, although other logistic system measurements are available (e.g., measures of recordkeeping, staff training, and quality of storage conditions), they cannot be directly associated with specific program interventions as easily as the CYP measure, despite the latter's shortcomings. Joseph Ferri stressed the importance of gathering information for the evaluation of commodity supply systems. He listed the different types of information collected during the implementation of a food distribution program and explained how they can be used to
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INFORMATION SYSTEMS AND MEASUREMENT FOR ASSESSING PROGRAM EFFECTS: IMPLICATIONS FOR FAMILY PLANNING PROGRAMS IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES: SUMMARY OF AN EXPERT MEETING evaluate the program's effectiveness. The information system includes many components: an operational plan that explains succinctly how the program will meet its goals; a bill of lading, which contains specific information about the commodities as they are loaded onto a ship; a survey report, which assesses the quantity and quality of the commodities that are delivered from the ship; a waybill, which collects information each time the commodities are moved between two points, such as a port and a warehouse; a warehouse inventory report, on which the stock of each warehouse is recorded monthly; a loss report, on which lost, ruined, or stolen commodities are reported; and a recipient list, on which all of the recipients of the food are recorded. This information enables a manager to evaluate how the distribution of commodities corresponds to the goals of the operational plan; to compare the quantity of food distributed to warehouses and the food given to recipients; and to establish where unreasonable losses are taking place in order to take corrective measures. The discussion began by concentrating on the multitude of problems surrounding CYP, the most prevalent commodities-based evaluation measure. First, because CYP is sometimes calculated on the basis of warehouse distribution rather than on contraceptives dispensed to clients (as intended), the estimates of contraceptive use are highly questionable. Second, by relying on CYP, program personnel may not feel the need to develop better measures. Third, CYP data do not usually account for pipeline wastage, that is, those contraceptives lost during shipment. Fourth, reliance on CYPs, especially as service delivery goals, may cause clinic personnel to dispose of contraceptives or to dispense inappropriate methods (i.e., distribute intrauterine devices instead of condoms because of the CYP differential in favor of IUDs). To improve logistics data it was suggested that the reliance
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