Data Analysis

In the public health field, and especially in the area of surveillance and service provision, we tend to collect far more data than we use. The failure to use data to improve programmes comes in part from poor data management. But even well managed data are often underexploited because there is a mismatch between the people who crunch the numbers and the people who run programmes. Too often, “data analysis” boils down to little more than spitting out indicators to fill in spreadsheets at the request of funders.

At Ternyata, we believe passionately that data should be used first and foremost to figure out what is needed in the local situation, to look at whether programmes are working, and to suggest how they can be improved. This is why we’ve designed trainings that bring together data analysts, programme managers and policy makers. We try to ensure that we use their own data, or locally relevant data, throughout the training. This prompts policy makers and programme managers to ask questions of the data that would not come up if “generic” exercises were used.

The five-day training covers data presentation (mostly using PowerPoint and Excel software) and personal presentation skills as well as very basic analysis commands using Stata. We’re run it in several locations in Indonesia and China, always with district and provincial level health department and statistics office staff as well as programme managers, often from NGOs.

The training is designed to impart skills, not to produce a definitive analysis. But it’s surprising how much can be done in five days with people who have never used a statistical analysis package before. Click on the links below for examples of:

Final presentations made by Ternyata trainees in Surabaya, Indonesia (.ppt)
Final presentations made by Ternyata trainees in Jayapura, West Papua (.ppt)
Final presentations made by Ternyata trainees in Guangzhou, China (.ppt)

The course grew out of data use guidelines that can be found on our Data Use page.