$48M USAID award will support data use and evidence building in global health

September 30, 2018

A new $48 million award to MEASURE Evaluation, a global health project based at UNC-Chapel Hill’s Carolina Population Center, will be used to help low-resource countries gather and use information to strengthen their health policies and programs and improve the health of their citizens.

Dr. Heidi Reynolds

Dr. Heidi Reynolds

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) provided funding for the efforts, which will run through September 2023. Heidi Reynolds, PhD,  associate professor of maternal and child health at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health and director of evaluation for MEASURE Evaluation, will lead the new project.

The work will draw on MEASURE Evaluation’s experience during the past quarter-century, working in low-resource countries to improve the monitoring and evaluation of their health programs.

The award will help low- and middle-income countries – primarily in sub-Saharan Africa – to increase their capacity to use available data and generate new data to build evidence for improving health programs, health policies and decision making. The project has the following aims:

  • Generate evidence needed for health decision making through the appropriate use of routine and non-routine data sources and develop new understanding through innovative, rigorous and efficient methods, approaches and tools;
  • Build capacity of local institutions to conduct analyses and evaluations, on their own or in collaboration with others; and
  • Help decision makers use data to improve global health programs and policies through compelling, user-friendly, and actionable visualization and communication approaches.

“We know that data are essential for good decisions on health policies and programs,” Reynolds said. “The timing of this award will allow us to support USAID’s new strategic approach to help countries on their journey to self-reliance, by building local capacity to conduct evaluations and provide critical evidence on their own.”

The new project will enhance data collection and analysis practices, and facilitate the use of available data for impact. UNC will lead the project with MEASURE Evaluation partners ICF, John Snow Inc., Palladium and Tulane University, whose faculty and staff members already work together to help countries strengthen health systems to generate high-quality health information used at local, national and global levels.

The award supplements MEASURE Evaluation’s current five-year, $232 million cooperative agreement with USAID (UNC’s largest-ever research award). USAID administers the U.S. foreign assistance program, providing economic and humanitarian assistance in more than 80 countries worldwide.


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Contact the Gillings School of Global Public Health communications team at sphcomm@listserv.unc.edu.

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