Analysis Group Team Joins Partners In Health for Pro Bono Data Analysis in Lesotho

In September 2019, a team of Analysis Group consultants visited Lesotho to provide pro bono assistance to Partners In Health (PIH), a Boston-based nonprofit organization that provides quality health care services in the poorest areas of developing countries. Working with the Government of Lesotho, PIH was tasked with analyzing the first four years of data from the country’s National Health Care Reform initiative and reporting the initiative’s impact in four districts in Lesotho.

PIH turned to Analysis Group to help with the analysis of the huge volume of data.

Senior Analysts Drew Van Kuiken and Kathryn Buggs, and Associate Andrea Di Miceli, spent two weeks at PIH’s Maseru office digging through maternal health, child health, HIV, and tuberculosis care data. Associate Erin Cook assisted from Analysis Group’s Boston office, framing possible analyses and then offering feedback as the process reached a close. The team also conducted a one-day training session for PIH staff on statistical analysis and Stata.

 “The team in Lesotho knew what it wanted from our report,” said Mr. Van Kuiken. However, they “also wanted us to share our insights and help brainstorm ways to push the report forward. The structure at Analysis Group set us up for success and helped establish a very positive working relationship between our team and theirs.”

Mr. Van Kuiken focused on maternal mortality. Many women in rural Lesotho live hours from a hospital, so they give birth at home. Yet home births correlate to mortality risk. The Rural Initiative (RI) launched in 2006 urged women to visit their local health centers instead, to give birth under the care of nurse practitioners. More than a decade into RI, “outcomes are generally improving,” said Mr. Van Kuiken, adding that he worked with PIH to illustrate the more dramatic improvements.

Ms. Buggs studied other aspects of maternal care, as well as trends in antiretroviral treatment for HIV. With only two weeks in Lesotho, and data from before and after the reform’s implementation, she and the team had a tight timeline. “The tools I’ve developed at Analysis Group in terms of structuring analyses, managing various datasets and documents, and designing robust codes were critical to making so much progress,” she said.

Dr. Di Miceli spoke of the familiarity of working with new colleagues on a fast-moving project. “We’re used to team size growing as the filing date approaches,” he said. “[We] need to be ready to contribute and add value with a short turnaround. Learning this skill in my first two years at Analysis Group proved particularly fruitful.”

According to Emily Dally, Director of PIH’s Impact Initiative, “The work of the four volunteers has been absolutely invaluable as we focus on demonstrating the impact of the National Health Reform in Lesotho.” For their own part, noted Ms. Buggs, “This project was an excellent reminder that the type of work we do at Analysis Group can have huge impacts both on policy and the daily lives of people halfway across the world.”

For more information, please contact Pierre Cremieux.