Data and Statistics
The data team offers expertise in software engineering, geographical information systems, data management, laboratory information systems, medical statistics, epidemiology, monitoring and evaluation, etc.
The data and statistics group are engaged in practically all stages of studies conducted at Zambart: study design, sampling and field procedures, quality control, development of data collection tools and databases, training/supervision of field staff, monitoring and evaluation of study progress, data analysis, preparation of scientific publications, and finally archiving and sharing of data.
The data team collaborates with different overseas knowledge centres. For example, experts from International Statistics and Epidemiology Group (ISEG) of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) advise us on statistical methods, and a team of experts from Imperial College London recently hosted a 10-day hands-on workshop on mathematical modelling of infectious diseases at Zambart. The workshop was attended by staff members from a number of Zambart’s partner organizations (UNZA School of Public Health, Zambia National Public Health Institute, MoH Kabwe District).
Some examples of our work:
The Yathu Yathu trial was conducted from 2019-2021 in the Kanyama and Chipata communities in Lusaka, Zambia. Twenty enumerators went from door-to-door and listed all members of households using an android tablet.
Adolescents and young people (AYP) aged 15-24, were invited to participate in the study. After consenting they received a loyalty card or Prevention-Points Card (PPC). The card, with the look-and-feel of a bank card, had a unique barcode to identify the AYP.
Each community was sub-divided into 5 control and 5 intervention zones. A community hub was established in each intervention zone.
AYP from intervention zones could attend the community hubs or the health facility to access sexual and reproductive health services. After presenting their Prevention Point Card, each accessed service was good for a certain amount of ‘prevention points’. If sufficient prevention points were gained, the points could be exchanged for ‘rewards’ like deodorant, soap, toothbrushes etc.
The hub staff used a web-based program to record the services that were accessed by AYP, the number of points an AYP had accumulated during the study, the number of points exchanged for rewards and the number of points that were left.
Yaba Guy Che
Yaba Guy Che aimed to co-develop, with men and the broader community, a multi-component intervention to reach men with HIV services, from HIV testing to linkage to prevention and care services. One component of the study was to determine whether mobile-phone support groups were an acceptableplatform for men to receive information on and support related to accessing HIV-related services.
Chat data was collected using an application called Rocket Chat (RC). This is an open-source messaging application. Participants used Samsung Galaxy A2 Core phones, android version 8.1.0. All participants used nicknames to ensure anonymity.
The groups were open 24/7 and we collected thousands of text messages (10,519) over a period of three months
We used a SaaS cloud server which was registered under Zambart, the Maguysche server. Access to this server was via a password and was limited to authorised study team members and the data team. This workspace run for 3 months i.e. May – July 2022 and thereafter was deactivated / deleted.
National TB Drug Resistance Survey
Zambart was contracted by the Ministry of Health to conduct the National TB Drug Resistance Survey in 2020/2021 (DRS). The DRS is recommended by the WHO to assess the level of resistance in the country against antibiotics that are used to treat TB-disease.
The data department contributed to DRS by taking a representative sample of 50 health facilities out of all 362 TB-diagnostic centres in Zambia.
From every selected TB-diagnostic centre, 22 consecutive smear or Xpert positive newly notified TB-patients were enrolled. We developed a digital data collection tool on android tablets, that was used by TB-corner nurses to administer the questionnaire after a TB-patient agreed to participate in the study.
The laboratory algorithm of the tests that needed to be done on sputum samples of participating TB-patients was rather complex. The data department assisted with a laboratory information system that followed the algorithm of laboratory tests not only to record the results but also to check if all tests were done according to the protocol and the facilitate reporting back of the results to the health facility/patient.