Spotlight on the Start Fund
Learning from Challenges Faced Fighting Cholera
Learning from challenges faced fighting Cholera: Summary of Qualitative Findings from the Modified Real-Time Evaluation of IMC’s Start Fund Project in the Far North Region of Cameroon
International Medical Corps (IMC) and Plan International responded to a cholera outbreak in the Far North region of Cameroon on 1 August 2014. IMC used the optional 1% learning budget to conduct a modified real-time evaluation to provide feedback and lessons to field teams for improving response. The criteria used were coordination, effectiveness, appropriateness, connectedness and coverage, and four key recommendations came out of the evaluation.
- Recommendation 1: Systematize information and knowledge sharing practices to improve coordination efforts among implementing agencies and community engagement. Rationale: Poor information sharing practices between agencies and with the community was noted as a key barrier in the effectiveness and acceptability of interventions leading to duplication of efforts and gaps in provisions of services
- Recommendation 2: Ensure adequate availability of supplies to meet demand through a more robust supply chain system based on needs. Rationale: Poor inventorying, a break down in supply chain, and irregular distribution practices including rationing led to depletion of the availability of supplies excluding certain areas from receiving lifesaving products
- Recommendation 3: Build community and Ministry of Health (MOH) capacity to recognize, plan for, and respond to an immediate health crisis. Rationale: IMC and other agencies were not able to intervene at the height of the cholera outbreak. Barriers such as terrain and travel time, logistics, and poor link between community surveillance mechanisms and formal health system delayed efforts to respond in a timely manner
- Recommendation 4: Address the social norms that influence distribution practices. Rationale: Inequitable distribution practices due to social, cultural, and gender norms tended to exclude distribution to high risk groups including some women, co-wives, large households, and remote communities. Read the full report here.
Every Start Fund project can access an optional 1% learning budget to conduct activities to improve the evidence-base for lessons learned in the field or increase beneficiary influence. Emphasis is placed on making programmatic improvements to emergency response within the project’s specific context and disseminating lessons through the Network.