Shani Turke,a Sarah Nehrling,b Samuel Olanipekun Adebayo,c Pierre Akilimali,d Ivan Idiodi,c Anthony Mwangi,e Elizabeth Larson,a Caroline Moreau,f,g Philip Anglewicza,f

There is an urgent need for data to inform coronavirus disease
(COVID-19) pandemic response efforts. At the same time, the
pandemic has created challenges for data collection, one of
which is interviewer training in the context of social distancing.
In sub-Saharan Africa, in-person interviewer training and faceto-
face data collection remain the norms, requiring researchers to
think creatively about transitioning to remote settings to allow for
safer data collection that respects government guidelines. Performance
Monitoring for Action (PMA, formerly PMA2020) has
collected both cross-sectional and longitudinal data on key reproductive
health measures in Africa and Asia since 2013. Relying on
partnerships with in-country research institutes and cadres of female
interviewers recruited from sampled communities, the project
was well-positioned to transition to collecting data on COVID-19
from the onset of the pandemic. This article presents PMA’s development
of a remote training system for COVID-19 surveys in the
Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, and Nigeria, including
challenges faced and lessons learned. We demonstrate that remote
interviewer training can be a viable approach when data
are critically needed and in-person learning is not possible.
We also argue against systematic replacement of in-person
trainings with remote learning, instead recommending consideration
of local context and a project’s individual circumstances
when contemplating a transition to remote interviewer

Global Health: Science and Practice 2021 | Volume 9 | Number 1

Remote Interviewer Training for COVID-19 Data Collection