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Published On: Tue, Dec 17th, 2019

Minister, stakeholders harp on importance of data in health sector

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By Tobias Lengnan Dapam

The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire and stakeholders in the health sector yesterday harped on the importance of data for information dissemination in the health sector.
They gave this indication yesterday in Abuja during a two days National Dissemination Workshop of the Revised National Health Management Information System (NHMIS) Tools (Version 2019).
The workshop which saw representatives from the 36 states and other stakeholders in the sector was meant to revise the NHMIS tools to the States, implementing partners and other relevant stakeholders amongst others.
Speaking, the Minister said the Health Information System (HIS) is one of six key building blocks of the healthcare system, designed for the collection, analysis, use and dissemination of health-related data, towards improving health outcomes.
“The HIS is important in providing guidance for decision making on the other five blocks. The system is not only for the planning, monitoring, and evaluation of health care service activities, but also for day-to-day patient management, health education, resource allocation, disease prioritization, and decision making. Therefore, a functioning health information system should produce the right information at the right time, to enable policymakers, managers, and service providers to make accurate, timely evidence-based decisions, to lead to sustainable health outcomes at all levels of care.
“Despite the benefits, poor data quality and limited use of information generated is a major concern. Some health care providers report routine health data with limited or understanding of the tools. Their use of the tools for decision making at lower levels is also uncertain, neither is there a routine feedback on reports sent to the next reporting level. Funding for Health Management Information system and related monitoring and evaluation activities has so far been largely donor-dependent. This is neither sustainable nor desirable. Though the National Council on Health in 1996 and the 2014 NHMIS Policy recommended government budget lines for NHMIS activities at all levels, it has not been optimally implemented.”
“The tools review process is in accordance with the National NHMIS Policy 2014, which recommended that the NHMIS Tools be reviewed every two years. However, the last review of this data collection and reporting tools was done in 2013; review is necessary to remove obsolete data elements and update the registers with new ones to meet programmes and stakeholders information needs.”
Also speaking, the Commissioner for Health in Zamfara State, Yahaya Muhammed, said data is necessary in achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
He said the move towards analyzing proper data in the health sector will help the country to revamp its health sector.
He said the Zamfara state governor is doing a lot in the sector to return it to its lost glory.
On his part, Dr. Emmanuel Abatta, head of MHIS in the ministry of health, said the Department of Health Planning, Research & Statistics of the Federal Ministry of Health, has the mandate to ensure the availability of timely, reliable data for evidence-based decision making at all level.
“This led to the establishment of the National Health Management Information System (NHMIS). The NHMIS is a data collection system specifically designed to support planning, management, and decision making in health facilities and organizational levels. In a desire to strengthen the Health Information system, the 56th & 57th sessions of the National Council on Health approved (i) the use of a single integrated but decentralized national routine health database (DHIS 2) hoisted at the Federal Ministry of Health and (ii) the use of a harmonized NHMIS data collection and reporting tools.”

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