Data Science Program

Our work in this area leverages advances in platform development to create robust data systems that ensure data are shared, […]

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ANNUAL REPORT 2018: Breaking New Ground- Find out how APHRC is transforming lives in Africa

Word From the Executive Director

This was an exceptional year of evolution, growth and maturation for APHRC, illustrated both by the breadth of projects we implemented across our three programmatic divisions and the depth of the systems and operations we have put in place to support them. We are still prodigious in our publications – more than 70 in 2018, including two special issues of the BMC Public Health journal – on research drawn from a national survey on noncommunicable disease (NCD) risk factors in Kenya and an analysis of NCD prevention policies from six African countries.

But beyond publications, we are moving into new terrain, bringing our research findings into public and policy-oriented conversations, all the way from the study communities in which we collect our data to debates within the African Union Commission. In 2018, we embarked on structured public engagement as a way to bring the findings from our work back to the communities providing data and to co-create with them solutions to some of the problems identified by our research.

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Countdown to 2030

Countdown to 2030 for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health (CD2030) focuses on tracking service coverage, inequalities and health systems for reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health and nutrition (RMNCAH+N) globally, regionally and at country level. […]

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Gender and Conservation Agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Systematic Review

Conservation agriculture (CA) involves the practice of concurrent minimum tillage, permanent soil cover using crop residue, and crop rotation. Evidence indicates that CA increases agricultural productivity, reduces farming labor requirements, and improves soil quality. While CA is practiced in several African contexts, little is known about its interaction with gender. This review synthesized knowledge on the interplay of gender and CA in sub-Saharan Africa. The review highlighted the relative neglect of gender issues in research on CA in SSA. Existing research was limited both in quantity and to a few countries in the region. There was also little critical focus on gender as a social phenomenon: a few of the studies conceptualized gender in terms of the socially constructed roles of men and women while the majority framed it in terms of the sexual categories of male and female. Compared to men, and due largely to gendered barriers, including lack of access to land; machinery; inputs; extension services; and credit facilities, women farmers adopted CA less and disadopted it more. CA increased women’s incomes, labor involvement, household food security, as well as risks for land and crop dispossession by men when farming becomes lucrative. It also increased workloads, employment opportunities and health risks for women. CA positively altered gender relations, boosting women’s participation in agricultural decision-making at the household level. Deliberately enlisting women as beneficiaries; working with men to advance their understanding of women’s needs in agriculture, and offering agricultural inputs directly to women are some strategies that enhanced women’s participation in CA. Gaps in current research on gender and CA include: critical focus on and understanding of gender as a social construct in relation to CA; the long-term impacts on CA for gender relations, incomes for men and women, and women’s empowerment; the sustainability of strategies for supporting gendered participation in CA; and the dynamics of gendered access to local farmland markets for CA. […]

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The health and wellbeing of young people in sub-Saharan Africa: an under-researched area?*

A third of sub-Saharan Africa’s (SSA) population comprises persons aged 10–24 years. These youth are growing up in a context marked by pervasive poverty, limited educational opportunities, high HIV/AIDS prevalence, widespread conflict, and weak social controls. Published research on the broad issues that affect youth health and wellbeing in SSA is limited and centers heavily on sexual and reproductive health. In this commentary, we provide a broad overview of sub-Saharan African youth, highlight research gaps with respect to youth health and wellbeing, and describe potential avenues to develop the region’s research capacity on youth health and wellbeing. […]

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Understanding inequities in child vaccination rates among the urban poor: Evidence from Nairobi and Ouagadougou health and demographic surveillance systems*

Studies on informal settlements in sub-Saharan Africa have questioned the health benefits of urban residence, but this should not suggest that informal settlements (within cities and across cities and/or countries) are homogeneous. They vary in terms of poverty, pollution, overcrowding, criminality, and social exclusion. Moreover, while some informal settlements completely lack public services, others have access to health facilities, sewers, running water, and electricity. There are few comparative studies that have looked at informal settlements across countries accounting for these contextual nuances. In this paper, we comparatively examine the differences in child vaccination rates between Nairobi and Ouagadougou’s informal settlements.

We further investigate whether the identified differences are related to the differences in demographic and socioeconomic composition between the two settings. We use data from the Ouagadougou and Nairobi Urban Health and Demographic Surveillance Systems (HDSSs), which are the only two urban-based HDSSs in Africa. The results show that children in the slums of Nairobi are less vaccinated than children in the informal settlements in Ouagadougou. The difference in child vaccination rates between Nairobi and Ouagadougou informal settlements are not related to the differences in their demographic and socioeconomic composition but to the inequalities in access to immunization services. […]

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Brief: Making Data Systems Work for Counties

Good quality data are essential for institutions to accurately plan, budget, and evaluate development activities. Without basic development metrics, it is not possible to get an accurate picture of how a population is developing or how to target investments to meet the real-time needs of that population. In the absence of quality data, investments of limited resources are based on educated guesses. […]

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