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Research Fellow Consultancy Assignment in Kenya

Terms of Reference
MHealth Research Fellow
Transform Nutrition, Wajir Kenya

The prevalence of acute malnutrition in Kenya is 6% nationally, with rates ranging between 15-20% in the Arid and Semi-Arid Areas (ASAL), including Wajir County.

Integrated Management of Acute Malnutrition (IMAM) is a proven approach in the treatment of acute malnutrition, however its effectiveness in Kenya is limited by Health Workers failing to adhere to standard CMAM treatment protocol, due in part to poor monitoring and support, relying on paper based systems.

Save the Children with funding from World Vision and Transform Nutrition (DIFD/IFPRI) are implementing an MHealth project in Wajir, whereby health workers are given tablets to help them assess, treat and refer children with acute malnutrition. 

A rigorous evaluation is attached to the project to evaluate effectiveness of using the tablets with IMAM adapted software. The evaluation targets 45 health facilities in three contiguous sub-counties of Wajir: Wajir south (18 centres), Wajir east (11 centres) and Tarbaj (16 centres). 

Twenty of these centres have been randomly selected, after stratifying by sub-county to receive the tablets (intervention group) and the remaining facilities act as a control group. 

The devices have IMAM adapted software that allows the health worker to record IMAM data on site and follow IMAM protocols, providing more timely and accurate data for decision making and higher quality of care. 

The following data has or will be collected and will need to be cleaned and analysed to produce a report of findings by February 2017:
  • Data gathered through the tablets and paper registers for a period of 12 months will be compared across the two groups to evaluate the effectiveness of the tablets on treatment outcomes.
  • Historical data from paper registers since October 2014 is currently being entered and will be used to check that the two groups of health facilities are similar before the introduction of the tablets and assess issues with current paper registers
  • Health facility observations will be conducted 2-3 times in all health facilities by the project research assistants to assess the quality of care
  • Qualitative assessment will be also be done to assess acceptability and uptake of the tablets and identify challenges and solutions found.
A research fellow is needed from August 2016 for a period of 6 months  (part time at 50%) to support data management and analysis of the data gathered through tablets and registers during a period of 12 months. 

The research fellow will work on a part time basis supporting the project based in Nairobi with frequent travel to Wajir. 

The research fellow will work with the data entry clerk, the research assistants and Nutrition Advisor in Nairobi and the Head of Child Survival, with support from SCUK technical advisors and an external expert (statistician or other tbc).
Objective: To manage and analyse the data generated by the tablets, paper registers and produce a report of results, including a manuscript for publication and learning papers

Specific Activities
1) Preparation
  • Review research protocol  and draft data analysis plan
  • Training on CommCare HQ and use of tablets
2) CommCare HQ data and current historical data
  • Draft data analysis plan (adapt from Historical data analysis plan) with support from experts
  • Produce summary report template (health worker version, county/national version) and as an example (if not done yet)
  • Make recommendations for improving the software to share with Dimagi
  • Work with data entry clerk to clean data from registers (use same method as for historical data) and manage it (catalogue, save and upload it to shared drive/cloud  etc)
  • Merge Register and CommCare data for key indicators
  • Analyse data: compare indicators between two groups (registers vs CommCare data)
  • Produce a report of findings, with separate summary and PPT
  • Support dissemination of findings at county and national level
3) Observation checklist
  • (security permitting), conduct 1-2 health facility observation to see how checklist works
  • Develop data entry template and oversee data entry
  • Work with Yussuf to clean and manage data (inc document and save it)
  • Draft data analysis plan (with support from advisors and expert/statistician)
  • Analyse data: compare quality of care between two groups
  • Produce report of findings, with separate summary report (for each data collection) and PPT slides
  • Support dissemination of  findings at county and national level (study advisory committee)
4) Manuscript / policy brief / Blog
  • Draft a manuscript, pulling results from all three analyses for publication in peer reviewed journal (with support from Advisors/expert). This is main deliverable for TN
  • Produce a research or policy brief to share with national and county level staff
  • Support dissemination of findings at national and county level
  • Manage blog and work with Wajir team and advisors to add lessons, findings to it ongoing basis. 
This is 2nd main TN deliverable

5) Qualitative assessment
  • Develop questionnaires to conduct Focus Group Discussions and In depth interviews with health workers and caregivers
  • Train the Wajir staff  to conduct the interviews and record the information
  • Supervise the data collection
  • Analyse and summarise the results of the qualitative assessment in a short report
6) Capacity building
  • Train data entry clerk to clean, manage and analyse data
  • Wherever possible build SC and county staff capacity e.g. in data use/interpretation, CommCare HQ data analysis and reporting, etc

Time frame
1)          CommCare and current data register data
·          Summary report templates and instructions, with examples
End Aug 2016
·          Recommendations for software improvements
End Aug 2016
·          Data analysis plan for impact evaluation
End Sept 2016
·          Report of results findings (impact evaluation)
End Feb2016
·          Summary and PPT of findings
End Feb 2016
2)        Health facility observation checklists
·          Data analysis plan
End Aug 2016
·          Report of findings (quality of care)
End Dec 2016
·          Summary and PPT of findings
End Dec 2016
3)        Qualitative assessment
·          Questionnaires
End Sept 2016
·          Summary and PPT of findings
End Nov 2016
4)        Manuscript/ policy briefs/Blog
·          Draft manuscript – MAIN DELIVERABLE FOR TN
End Feb 2016
·          Policy brief
End March 2016
·          Well maintained blog
6)        Capacity building
·          Performance feedback for data entry clerk (skills developed and capacity for data management/analysis)
Dec 2016 (performance review time)

Management and support: The research fellow will be managed by the Nutrition Advisor and her main focal point in Kenya will be the Head of Child Survival.

How to Apply

This is a “gap filling consultancy’, and all interested Individuals are requested to express interest by email to:  with a copy to  by 2nd September 2016 Indicating the Assignment Title on the subject line.

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