Research with MIT J-PAL

In 2009, we teamed up with the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to evaluate OpASHA’s treatment model. Since then, J-PAL has randomly selected treatment center clusters in all Operation ASHA’s Indian states including Haryana, Punjab and Rajasthan to observe OpASHA’s activities and analyze OpASHA’s performance in providing treatment to our patients.

The Research Project

The evaluation’s primary research question is: Can positive or negative financial incentives for health workers encourage them to detect new tuberculosis cases and prevent patients from defaulting on treatment?

In other words, can giving employees additional pay for finding new TB suspects induce them to find and refer more cases? Key to our model has been this incentivized payment scheme and active TB case finding within the communities. The biggest challenge in controlling the spread of tuberculosis is finding and treating the infected persons before they have a chance to spread the disease to their friends and neighbors. J-PAL is investigating whether providing incentives for the providers, not the patients, is more effective in not only detecting new cases, but in influencing patients to finish their treatment, even after symptoms disappear.

We expect to receive the results of the study within the next six months.

More details about J-PAL’s research project with OpASHA are listed on their website.

About J-PAL

J-PAL is “a network of 64 affiliated professors around the world who are united by their use of Randomized Evaluations (REs) to answer questions critical to poverty alleviation.”

J-PAL researches and evaluates issues regarding policy implemented by governments, international organizations and NGOs to address various issues in developing countries including healthcare, water and sanitation, and governance. With OpASHA, J-PAL has conducted Randomized Control Trials (RCTs) to test and improve the effectiveness of our programs and policies. J-PAL has regional offices worldwide including in Africa, Europe, Latin America and South Asia, hosted by local universities.

The Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab website provides more details about J-PAL’s structure and activities.