Step 2: Field Assessment
- Determine if the channels in the draft strategy are feasible—this allows you to finalize the strategy.
- Understand how each channel would be implemented—this allows you to develop draft implementation guidelines.
- Field assessment report—either document or report to the stakeholder group, if the proposed channels are feasible.
- Finalized strategy
- Draft implementation guidelines
- (Optional) PowerPoint slides summarizing the information above.
All information in this section described in greater detail in the VectorWorks document How to Conduct a Field Assessment.
At least 1 month before the stakeholder workshop:
- Ensure that the donor and NMCP are aware that you plan to conduct the field assessment. Typically, they are held immediately after the stakeholder workshop.
- Donors and NMCP should be able to tell you which partners plan to implement CD and (maybe) what the most promising channels are or if they are taking the lead you can assist them in making a list of persons that are critical for a successful assessment. For example, if you expect school to be a promising channel, ask to have someone from the MOE’s school health program join your team.
- Contact these partners and plan to do the assessment together.
At least 3 weeks before the stakeholder workshop:
- To learn about best practices and also challenges for a given channel, should consider regional/ district performance (best and poor) for the systems to be assessed. E.g. for school-based distribution, a region known for good management and leadership, and reporting will be considered for field visits. A region with opposite attributes should also be selected. Same can be done for community-based distribution based on a community-based intervention implemented in the past or on-going.
- Should consider malaria epidemiology if different across the country.
- The schedule should state which regions and districts you will visit; which meetings you would like to convene; and which partners, officials, health facilities, schools, and other structures (like warehouses) you want to visit.
- Start arranging your travel—hotel, vehicle rental, and per diem payments. Note that at least one official from each region and district may accompany you during your meetings when you are in their region or district. Plan to have enough space and funding for them. They will also be able to answer your questions while you are traveling together and they will help introduce you to other partners and officials on the ground.
During and immediately after the stakeholder workshop:
- Ask stakeholders and pay close attention to the discussions and decide if you should meet with anyone else, or if you need to check on any particular aspect of implementation. Health, education, and community structures may differ somewhat from country to country.
General points about these interviews and site visits:
- Go to as many sites as time permits, but probe deeply at each one. Expect an interview to take 1.5 hours. Factor in travel and wait time.
- Consider dividing into teams to cover all your sites.
- Interviews should be with Key Informants and also with focus groups where applicable.
- People are busy; respect their time. State why you are there up front; show that their donor or ministry has approved your visit. Have your list of questions ready.
- Don’t rely on your interview questions if they don’t fit all situations. Take notes and closely track as many details as possible. Ask unplanned questions, depending on what you learn.
- Evaluate how they are already doing things and how the new system could fit into the existing system. Don’t assume that you can do what other countries are doing, because it may not fit in well into this country’s context. However, find out what other countries are doing; there may be a lot of overlap and you can test theories and form questions.
- Ask questions, but also observe. Look at registers, reports, other data collection tools and databases. Observe storage sites if available. Take pictures to ensure you have a copy to use in your report.
- After you learn about the system, propose how you could fit ITN distribution into it. Go over possible implementation steps. Officials you interact with will guide you and let you know what will and won’t work.
Note on capacity building and country ownership:
As much as possible, involve key focal person(s) from the relevant government ministries and divisions in planning and they should lead the assessment. They will understand better the potential pitfalls and considerations around CD (and, therefore, do a better job of overseeing it) if they actively participated in the assessment. One possible way is to gradually give the government focal person more and more responsibility in leading the discussions. The lead implementing partner representative can do the first few interviews and the focal person(s) can lead the rest. The lead implementing partner representative will be available, if needed.
Moreover, remember that the focal person(s) will lead the trainings and supervision visits. By putting the focal person(s) in a visible leadership role in the assessment stage, you are setting the tone for country-led implementation.
It is important to remember that your implementation guidelines should (at least, at first) be a single document for all CD planned in the country. Planning the channels and presenting them in a single document helps the continuing efforts to ensure the proposed channels are aligned well, leverage each other where possible, and avoid duplication of effort.
Before you leave for the field, draft the table of contents and organize sections of the implementation guidelines. This will help you develop interview questions.
- With the team, discuss what you learned. Manage your team members—those from the government, for example, may explain a lot of the processes for you, helping you understand what you have learned and prepare for the next round of interviews.
- In your draft document, start filling in the various sections of the guidelines.
- By the second or third night, you will probably understand the big picture. Start developing flowcharts on the flow of ITNs and data. Draw these in pencil and review them with your team.
- Get enough rest—field work means early days and long car rides.
- Take a night off occasionally and relax with your team. The assessment is also a relationship/partnership-building activity.
Two days before wrapping up the field visit:
- Ensure the ITN Focal Person has reminded all national stakeholders to reconvene.
When you get back from the field:
With your team, review the presentation for the stakeholder meeting on the field assessment outcomes with the NMCP, MOE, and the other partners to make sure all are in agreement.
Debrief with the donor, the NMCP Program Manager, and leadership of other relevant stakeholders to ensure they know what to expect before the stakeholder meeting.
Email the presentation to everyone involved after the review. Copy the donor(s), the NMCP Program Manager and other relevant stakeholders.
Examples of country strategy guidelines documents from:
- TOR for Field Assessment
- Sample Letter from NMCP
- Example CD Assessment Schedule
- Topic & question guide/observation checklist for health-facility, school-based, and community-based distribution assessment
- Outline of draft implementation guideline
- Example of a stakeholder presentation
- How to Conduct a Field Assessment
- School-based field assessment guide
- School-Based Distribution of Long-Lasting Insecticidal Nets: A Short Guide Based on Recent Country Experience