Community-Based Information Systems

MEASURE Evaluation’s work on CBIS aligns with larger health goals of USAID, as these systems operate at the community level, where health services are closest to the people who need them.

A community-based information system (CBIS) involves data collection, management, and analysis of health services that exist within a community outside of health facilities. These services can be delivered through community organizations, nongovernmental organizations, faith-based organizations, and other groups working either alongside formal health services or in places where there are no health facilities.

Typically, community-based programs provide a wide range of services at the household level to targeted participants. Participant targets may reside in a defined geographic area or exhibit similar behavioral or occupational characteristics (e.g., men who have sex with men, sex workers, truck drivers). They may share demographic traits (e.g., children under age five, pregnant or nursing mothers), situational factors (e.g., orphans or incarcerated individuals), or any combination thereof. Community health workers often act as frontline care providers for a wide range of services, including family planning, maternal and child care, childhood illness, malaria, HIV/AIDS, and tuberculosis.

The data collected in a CBIS can be used to inform programming and policy, identify populations in need, monitor the continuum of care, and address equity, access, and accountability. When community members have access to information in a CBIS, they have the potential to define and prioritize the community’s needs; set objectives and targets for meeting those needs; and participate in planning, implementing, and monitoring programs. A well-functioning CBIS can support civil registration and vital statistics, by providing information on births and deaths.

MEASURE Evaluation’s work on CBIS aligns with larger health goals of its funder, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), as these systems operate at the community level, where health services are closest to the people who need them.

Related to CBIS is MEASURE Evaluation’s work on routine health information systems (RHIS). RHIS comprise data collected at health facilities (public, private, and community-level) and institutions. These data give a picture of health status, health services, and health resources provided in the formal health sector. Read more about this work here.

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