Personnel needs, organizational structure, and main responsibilities

In addition to the committees and subcommittees, there is a range of personnel needed to successfully implement a micronutrient survey. Complex surveys, especially in large countries, are likely to require multiple teams and a significant amount of logistical and supervisory support. Fig. 8.1 shows an example of an organizational structure for a national micronutrient survey. The organizational levels and main tasks for each role are explained further below. The table in the “Tasks and roles for survey personnel” online tool provides an overview of typical roles and responsibilities for different survey personnel, teams and committees at the central, regional, and field levels.

Fig. 8.1. Organizational chart showing personnel needs for a typical national micronutrient survey

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Survey Management Team

The management team provides overall management and coordination of all processes at the central and regional levels. Members usually include the survey coordinator, the deputy coordinator, administrative staff, the Data coordinator and the Fieldwork support team (see the subsection, Fieldwork support team below). Depending on the size of the area to be surveyed, the complexity of the survey, and the geographic distribution of clusters, the management team structure may be replicated in full or in part at a regional level. The management team also has overall responsibility for supervising fieldwork progress and monitoring indicators of quality assurance in close collaboration with the Technical committee. Good supervision is dependent on strong familiarity with all aspects of the survey methodology, therefore all personnel involved with supervision should participate in the entire survey training and piloting process.

Survey Coordinator and Deputy Coordinator

The Survey coordinator should have prior experience in managing large population-based surveys, should be assigned on a full-time basis, and must be able to participate effectively in all aspects of the survey. It is critical that he or she works on the survey full time to ensure the quality and timeliness of implementation. More information can be found in the Job description for Survey coordinator.

A Deputy coordinator should be included on the team from the initial design and planning stage to support the coordination, management and supervision of the entire survey team as needed. The Deputy coordinator backstops the Survey coordinator and shares duties when the workload is very heavy. The Deputy coordinator often plays a particularly crucial role during the training, pilot testing, and early days of survey fieldwork.

Administrative Staff

Capable administrative staff support the Survey coordinator to manage survey processes and logistics, including human resources, procurement, photocopying and printing, financial management, transportation and accommodation.

Data Coordinator and the Central Data Team

The Data coordinator leads and has overall responsibility for the performance of the central data team, as well as for the collection, storage, transport, and security of data at all levels. The Data coordinator should have experience in coordinating data collection in large population-based surveys, in database management, and in supervising interviewers in the field.

The central data team is often located in the place where data are ultimately entered (and stored if paper-based). The central data team is typically composed of:

  • A specialist programmer, if using electronic data entry, to develop the data collection form and manage the use of appropriate field devices, software and accessories
  • A number of data entry personnel (see the Job description for data enterer)
  • A data entry manager and data editor (if using paper-based data collection) (see the Job description for data entry manager)
  • A database manager to quality-assure the format, checking, cleaning, and security of final data sets
  • The statistician to ensure that analyses are conducted accounting for the survey design and that the output fits with the result tables agreed with the Survey steering committee and the Technical committee.

Fieldwork Support Team

The Fieldwork support team supports the team leaders, manages the efficient implementation and monitoring of fieldwork and troubleshoots any problems that arise. The Fieldwork support team includes the Field coordinator, the Laboratory coordinator, and Regional supervisors (for fieldwork and, in some cases a separate regional supervisor for laboratory work). It may be part of the national Management team.

Laboratory Coordinator

The Laboratory coordinator leads the laboratory team, which may be located in the national laboratory of the ministry of health or in an academic institution that has expertise in micronutrient analyses.

The Laboratory coordinator, in coordination with the Regional laboratory supervisor (where this role is included), oversees all stages of collecting, storing, and transporting biological specimens and food samples from the field to the laboratory. In addition, if sample or specimen analysis takes place outside the country, the Laboratory coordinator is responsible for the appropriate packaging, labelling, and shipping of samples.

  • The Field coordinator and the Survey coordinator, to ensure that supplies and equipment with the correct specifications are ordered, that they function well throughout the training, pilot, and fieldwork, and that they are provided in appropriate quantities to the appropriate Regional supervisor(s).
  • The budget and and finance subcommittee and the Survey coordinator to plan for and ensure that the budget is adequate to purchase all the supplies and equipment needed.
  • The administrative staff to verify that the correct supply and equipment orders are made, to check on progress with shipping, expected arrival date, customs clearances and to arrange for transfer to an appropriate and secure storage area at the laboratory.
  • Regional laboratory supervisors (where these are included), to supervise their role.

You can find additional information on the Laboratory coordinator’s role online in the Job description for Laboratory coordinator.

Field Coordinator

The Field coordinator is responsible for survey logistics and fieldwork implementation according to the implementation plan. This person manages:

  • Communication between the Survey coordinator and Regional fieldwork Supervisors;
  • Overall logistics for the survey fieldwork, including transport and accommodation;
  • Survey implementation and data collection in the field;

Regional Supervisors

Regional field and laboratory supervisors must have a detailed understanding of all survey aspects and related protocols to ensure the appropriate support, coordination, and monitoring of fieldwork and laboratory specimen collection and transfer in their region. The roles include the following functions:

  • Communication between the Field coordinator and field teams to facilitate team logistics and travel (Field supervisor);
  • Communication between the Laboratory coordinator and field teams to facilitate sample collection, storage and transport (Laboratory supervisor;
  • Management of supplies and equipment for all field teams under their supervision; and
  • Data storage and transfer (where paper-based collection is used) for teams under their supervision.
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