Who makes up the health theme?
Ellie Brown, principal consultant, now leads the health portfolio having joined Itad in 2017, following nine years at Options and, before that, eight years as a health consultant in South Asia. Giada Tu Thanh, consultant, joined the theme in 2015, after spending over four years in Brussels, managing M&E projects for the European Commission. Emma Mulhern, senior consultant, joined in 2016, having worked on programme design and implementation in Nepal, Sierra Leone and Zimbabwe for over five years. Mary Lagaay, consultant, joined us a year ago from Plan International, where she managed global research projects. Our newest recruit, Wilson Ashimwe, consultant, joined us in early 2018, after spending more than six years supporting the delivery of large-scale multi-country programmes at the International HIV/AIDS Alliance. Jon Cooper, associate director, has a passion for SRHR with a background as a country director for MSI in Uganda. He continues to work closely with the health theme as project director and evaluator on a number of large evaluations, including the development of a global health security practice. Our Director of Partnerships, Sam McPherson, a founding member of the health theme, continues to support a broad range of our evaluations, particularly in the development of theory of change and evaluation methodologies.
Together, we bring a complementary mix of experience and skills covering cutting-edge technical evaluation methodologies, as well as substantial experience across a range of thematic areas within health.
What were your highlights from 2017?
Our health portfolio continues to grow in terms of partners, evaluation methodology, geographic coverage and thematic areas.
- We have successfully designed an Evaluation of the Fleming Fund, a £265 million One Health programme, to support low and middle-income countries in tackling antimicrobial resistance (AMR) launched by the UK Department of Health.
- We conducted the summative evaluation of UNICEF’s Pilot Project on Prevention of Adolescent Suicide and Mental Health Well-Being in Kyzylorda Oblast, Kazakhstan. We used a range of evaluation methods, including an evaluability assessment and contribution analysis to properly assess the data available, and evaluate the contribution and strength of each strand of evidence in order to analyse the project’s outcomes.
- We are working with ELMA Philanthropies on the evaluation of two investments from their HIV/AIDS portfolio: the evaluation of an Elizabeth Glaser Paediatric AIDS Foundation Programme to Accelerate POC/PITC Testing in Kenya, Swaziland and Zambia and the evaluation of the ELMA-funded “Unfinished Business” Paediatric and Adolescent HIV Program in South Africa and Uganda. Both evaluations are at the mid-point and we’re really excited to share the reports from these in the coming year.
- UNICEF HSS – UNICEF has commissioned Itad to conduct a global evaluation of their approach to health systems strengthening as part of the global movement to move towards Universal Health Care (UHC). The evaluation used a case study approach at the global and country level. Year Two of the evaluation will focus on thematic case studies across different country contexts, to learn how UNICEF is implementing HSS in practice and how this transforms into gains in well-being for children.
- We have expanded our portfolio of work for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (The Global Fund). We have started the year by successfully delivering a Review of the Global Fund’s new strategy for the period 2017-2022, and most recently, we conducted a thematic review of in-country programmatic assurance for the same client.
What makes you excited about your work?
As a team, we’re really happy to see more partners and donors talking about adaptive management, using real-time data and course correction in the health sector. This has long been a passion for us at Itad. We have always wanted to see evaluations contribute to learning by our clients and partners, but also across the sector.
Our longer-term evaluations, including the evaluations of the Fleming Fund and Adolescents 360, continue to keep us pushing our thinking on how we can better work as embedded learning partners, and push the use of findings into better ways of delivering health services to adolescents, children, men and women.
Our work for the Global Fund has made us transcend the boundaries of Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning to play the role of strategy consultants and facilitators to provide advice to one of the largest Global Health players in the world.
Itad has been working on several evaluations of human-centred design (HCD) – the use of design thinking to develop interventions in the area of public health. 2018 kicked off for some us with the ‘HCD Exchange’ in Tanzania, where donors, designers, implementers and evaluators came together to reflect on what they had learnt about HCD projects so far. We presented synthesised findings across our evaluations of Adolescents 360 and of the Hewlett Foundation’s strategy to apply HCD to adolescent sexual and reproductive health through funding IDEO.org and Marie Stopes in Kenya and Zambia. These evaluations are some of the only external evaluations of HCD and we’re really excited to contribute both our experience as evaluators and our findings to this developing community of practice.
Looking forward into 2018
We hope 2018 will be another positive year for the health theme, with exciting new projects just around the corner. Watch this space!