GBD Collaborator Spotlight Series - Issue 01 Dr. Elizabeth Wangia
Published February 10, 2022
“Data without action is not useful. Collected data should therefore be used to communicate and inform.” - Dr. Elizabeth Wangia, Kenyan Ministry of Health, GBD Collaborator
How does GBD support your work at the Kenyan Ministry of Health?
GBD data is widely used as evidence to inform planning and decision making at both the national and subnational level. Kenya has subnational estimates for several indicators. This is mainly key for estimates on health risk factors which are not routinely collected. In addition, GBD has supported capacity building in various areas, including media training, self-filming, translation of evidence to policy and GBD training.
What is the focus and purpose of your work outside of GBD?
Outside of GBD, I am a monitoring and evaluation specialist, with a focus on overall health system monitoring and evaluation, specifically universal health coverage monitoring and evaluation. I also have an interest in civil registration and vital statistics systems.
How did you get into your line of work?
I had been working for the Ministry of Health as a clinician in both public and private health facilities in rural and poor urban areas from 2007 to 2011, before undertaking a Master of Science in Medical Statistics. Given my new skill set, I was deployed to the monitoring and evaluation Division of the Ministry of Health to support the team. I have since worked in two other departments – a donor funded project, as a project manager and the UHC secretariat as a monitoring and evaluation specialist.
What has been a surprising discovery in your research or field of study?
One of the surprising discoveries in my work is on how governments and projects invest heavily in their core mandate but rarely prioritize monitoring and evaluation, which is a core governance component.
What inspires or excites you most about your work?
Evidence generation and use of evidence for decision making. Part of this lies in questioning data generated and tying it up with what is happening on the ground.
What has been the impact of your work?
Provision of feedback based on evidence generated, therefore stirring up people to action. This is followed by corrective measures or changes of strategy that have led to major improvements in the health indicators.
What are you hoping to achieve next and why?
For attainment of Universal Health Coverage, the Ministry of Health in Kenya is refocusing the efforts to strengthen primary health care, through establishment and operationalization of primary care networks. My next achievement would be to keep track of the investments in primary health care and assess how they relate to the overall health outcomes. In addition, I would like to document and share experiences on the same from the various subnational units.
Three books you’d recommend, and why?
- What Got You Here, Won’t Get You There by Marshall Goldsmith. This book emphasizes the need to be intentional in our actions, and relationships with colleagues and direct reports.
- A Radical Awakening by Shefali Tsabary. This book is written from a feminine perspective, touching on empowering oneself and building oneself from within, allowing you to radiate the wholesome self to the world.
- Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins. This is a self-improvement book that steers one to push themselves as much as they can, irrespective of the circumstances they are facing, and irrespective of whether they feel like they have reached their breaking point.
For generations who stumble on this interview years from now, is there any wisdom you would want to pass on to them? What would you want them to know?
Data without action is not useful. Collected data should therefore be used to communicate and inform.
The Collaborator Spotlight project showcases individuals within IHME’s expansive network of over 7,000 global collaborators who conduct the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study (GBD) and its affiliated research projects. This series of interviews gives an inside look at the people behind the research, as they discuss their current projects outside of GBD, book recommendations, and more.