Transforming National Population Surveys in Developing Countries with Mobile Phone Technology

Scott Radloff, Johns Hopkins University
Amy Tsui, Johns Hopkins University
Hannah Olson, Johns Hopkins University
Linnea Zimmerman, Johns Hopkins University
Luke MacDonald, Johns Hopkins University
Easmon Otupiri, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST)
Solomon Shiferaw, Addis Ababa University
Assefa Seme, Addis Ababa University
Peter Gichangi, International Center for Reproductive Health, Kenya
Frederick Makumbi, Makerere University

Mobile phone technologies have advanced markedly in recent years, such that today’s smartphones can perform a wide variety of functions previously possible only with much larger computing devices. It is now possible to utilize smartphones in developing countries to collect and transmit data to a cloud server for real-time aggregation, analysis, and reporting. This paper reports on national population surveys conducted in five countries(Ghana, DR Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda) to monitor contraceptive access and practice,using mobile phones and a platform of female enumerators based in sample clusters. We provide information on enumerator characteristics, submission and interview time, and precision of the estimates, comparing the latter with the estimates from the Demographic and Health Surveys conducted in those countries. The results suggest real-time capture and analysis of data offer policymakers an improved ability to decide on resource allocations and researchers the opportunity to investigate supply-demand factors influencing service use behaviors.

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Presented in Session 182: Data and Measurement Challenges in the Developing World