Sustaining the Work of the First DDDM Workshop

The facilitators of the pilot Data Driven Decision Making (DDDM) workshop held in Uganda last summer felt it was a success and received positive feedback from participants. Fourteen attendees filled out evaluation forms at the close of the workshop and all agreed that that the workshop met its objectives and DDDM was relevant to their work. Also, while only one person felt ‘very comfortable’ with the topic prior to the workshop, eleven did afterwards. Still, efforts must be made to support and sustain this type of work amongst decision makers in Uganda. 

Ummuro Adano, Senior HR Systems Advisor for the Capacity Project, has said DDDM is a “mental shift that can take place over time” and cannot be fully accomplished through just one workshop. One participant agreed, and explained, “We learned that data use in decision making needs to be developed. It’s about ‘how can I prove this and what is the rationale?’ It’s having the inquiring process in the thinking and decisions that we make.“  He added that by attending the workshop, participants began to realize it was a lot more risky to make decisions without the use of data, “We also learned that data can be deliberately ignored to achieve certain objectives.” 

When asked how attendees will use what they learned at the workshop in the future, one participant said they will train themselves to look for evidence in all decisions that they make. "We should be able to make a reference to a source of data so that people can confirm and be certain we are using data that is authentic,” he said.  He also mentioned that it is important to share current records from the various sources, “We need a system in place to maintain the databases that we are creating and maintain up to date (information) because data that is out of date, as we learned, is not very useful in decision making.” 

The workshop produced several outcomes that will help participants utilize DDDM in their future work and encourage other decision makers in Uganda. One activity produced a finalized list of HR policy and management questions for the Ugandan health sector. Another result was a list of next steps and actions that included strengthening the MOH Resource Center so that it can function as the effective HRH data storage facility that collects, integrates, and provides access to the various sources of data. The Resource Center will also promote using data for decision making. 

Some participants offered other suggestions for how to sustain this work. One participant said, “We need to create demand for data among policy makers and managers. We need to motivate each other in terms of further workshops to engage policy planners at the level higher than we had so in the future they may demand a certain level of quality.” Another participant agreed and added, “These kinds of trainings need to be replicated, followed up, because we are getting to a stage where we are now, that we want now to use information more.” He said they need to follow up with trainings, etc. with as many of the decision makers as possible. 

Other DDDM workshops are planned for Swaziland and Rwanda this spring, where information is now becoming available from their HR Information Systems and ready to be evaluated.