PMA Ethiopia trains students and government health officials on data use

Advanced methods of data analysis course
The PMA Ethiopia team held the first session of an advanced data analysis course training from December 14 to 19, 2020. The second session of this two-week course was offered in March. The pause between the first and second session allows participants to refine the topic of a course research project. The course, which was open to PhD students at Addis Ababa University (AAU) and regional universities, academic staff at AAU School of Public Health (SPH), and PMA Ethiopia central staff and regional coordinators, fills the gap in research training related to conducting advanced analysis using large-scale survey data.  
Many academic researchers in Ethiopia seek opportunities to build their knowledge and skills related to advanced statistical research techniques. Dr. Girma Taye, Associate Professor at AAU SPH and one of the instructors of the course, said that PhD students and academic staff often do not have the opportunity to study analytic methods for survey data in-depth, and an advanced training such as this course would enhance research skills.  
The course covers large-scale survey design in addition to advanced methods of analysis and uses PMA Ethiopia surveys to illustrate concepts. The course also provides training and mentorship in manuscript development as participants work in groups to produce a manuscript that uses PMA Ethiopia data and research methods covered in the course.  Each group is mentored by a JHSPH faculty member.  
One of the trainees, Yimer Seid, a second-year PhD student from AAU indicated he took the course to familiarize himself with using and exploring secondary data such as PMA datasets. He noted that, ‘’The training will give me a chance to use secondary data in my upcoming research since I’m interested to conduct research about the relationship between antenatal care and birth outcomes.”  
Another PhD student and academic staff at AAU who attended the course training, Yordanos Tadesse, said, “I was interested to join the course training, since the training is designed to be an advanced one which will enhance my skills in advanced statistic methodology.” This course training will provide Yordanos with the advanced data analysis skills needed for her research on the association of women’s empowerment, maternal nutrition, and low birth weight.  
Through hands-on training and tailored mentorship, the course enables young researchers to gain practical experience with the entire research process – from problem identification, to survey data analysis and manuscript writing. The benefit for PhD students is particularly significant as the course teaches advanced data analysis methods that students can employ in their doctoral research.  
Dr. Solomon Shiferaw said that the School of Public Health hopes that the course can be integrated into the PhD curriculum at AAU SPH, as it is deemed essential by faculty from the School’s Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics who are responsible for offering similar courses. Dr. Shiferaw also indicated that, with future financial support, there is potential to offer the course as a stand-alone short course to other interested groups from universities and research institutes across Ethiopia and other countries in Africa.   
Figure 1 – Researchers learn advanced analysis skills using large-scale survey data. 
Data Use Workshops
The PMA Ethiopia team also held a data use workshop where invitees included the Federal Minister of Health and key staff from twelve regional health bureaus. The goal of the workshop was to familiarize regional health bureau staff with PMA data and encourage data use by reviewing the latest regional results briefs and exploring the components of PMA Ethiopia data on the website, including SOI tables, questionnaires, publications and DataLab. The workshop culminated in the regional health bureaus developing draft action plans based on PMA data. The action plans are currently being refined and updated by respective regional health bureau staff with technical guidance provided by AAU faculty and staff who work on PMA Ethiopia. 
Figure 2 – Dr. Bedilu, PMA Ethiopia Data Manager,  facilitates a group exercise
Thursday, April 22, 2021 - 14:00