Evaluation of the implementation and performance of the Digital Pen Technology (DPT) in livestock disease reporting in Zambia
The Digital Pen Technology (DPT) project was implemented in Sesheke, Kazungula, Monze and Namwala districts of Zambia that were considered to be at high risk of Trans-boundary animal diseases (TADs). The purpose was to create efficient reporting system that quickly transmits data of livestock disease from the field. This study aimed at evaluating the implementation process and performance of DPT between September 2009 and August 2010. The qualitative part of the work describes the implementation process while the analytical part tested two hypotheses i.e. whether there were differences in frequency of reporting as well as in costs between the DPT and the Traditional Pen Paper (TPP) system. Data were collected through interviewing of officers and reviewing of project and camp documents. The results indicated that while the DPT monthly reports were ready by every end of month (automated), the TPP took on average 15 days after month end to reach the National Livestock Epidemiology and Information Centre. Sesheke district sent eleven DPT and five TPP monthly reports out of the expected 12 in a year. The average camp operation costs associated with DPT and TPP in Sesheke District were US dollars 487 and 168 respectively and the difference was statistically significant (p < 0.05). In this study the DPT was found to improve timeliness and frequency of reporting but was costly. Implementation fidelity was good, but challenges associated with the implementation process resulted in non-achievement of project targets of 2,688 DPT reports in all the four districts. The government should ensure regular maintenance and replacement of equipment. The DPT forms should be stocked at district level instead of being kept at the DPT central office.
Keywords: Digital Pen Technology, Evaluation, Implementation fidelity, reporting frequency, timeliness