Reflections: Day 1 and 2 of health service mapping

by: April 13th, 2010 comments: 0

Day 1: What a way to start!

April 12th was day one of health service data collection with Map Kibera. Nine fearless mappers set forth to find out where in their community health and health-related activities are being carried out, what services are being offered, who is providing those services and much, much more. It was an eventful day – we learned quite a number of things and the data collection form is being modified to more accurately capture information during the rest of the week.

The Map Kibera project is becoming well-known outside of Kibera, Nairobi and even Kenya. Today, the team was asked to make a brief (but informative) presentation to the Executive Director of UNICEF, Ann M. Veneman during her visit to Kibera.

Day 2: Not a walk in the park.

Data collection is not a walk in the park. Day two of the health services mapping with Map Kibera brought to light two major challenges to systematic data collection.

I do not claim that these challenges are unique, nor that today was the first day the mappers came across these issues (in fact yesterday, and during the previous mapping exercise, the mappers expressed some of the same concerns):

1. Suspicion. People do not want to give up information about the services they are providing. This could be for many reasons (they don’t believe you are who you say you are, they think you are being exploitative, research fatigue -see below, they are not licensed to provide said service, etc.)

2. Research fatigue. From my (limited) experience in Kibera (I spent 3 months in the area in 2008 and have been back a few times in 2009 & 2010), the settlement is one of the most over-researched places in Kenya, if not in Africa. As an example, as we were walking around today, I saw 2 groups of researchers walking around with clipboards interviewing people door-to-door. And what ever comes of the research? Does the community see the benefits? Likely not in their eyes. As such, even groups such as Map Kibera doing ‘community research’ are viewed with suspicion…and the cycle continues.

Reviewing the health services data collection form

[Both days are cross posted on my health geography blog]

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