Data Use in the Indian Health Sector

Major investments have been and continue to be made in data collection for public health programs but there is concern that such data are not being used to their full potential.

Cover India DocRecently there has been increased attention to data use in the international public health community among several groups, including MEASURE Evaluation, the Health Metrics Network (HMN) at the World Health Organization, and the World Bank’s Global AIDS M&E Team (GAMET).

Major investments have been and continue to be made in data collection for public health programs, but there is concern that such data are not being used to their full potential. A basic premise is that health data and information lack value unless they are used to inform decisions. Interventions that increase local demand for information and facilitate its use enhance evidence-based decision making. Data demand and use, therefore, are critical to improving the effectiveness and sustainability of the health system.

Unless the data are of value to the information recipient, however, they will not be used. The objectives of this study were to shed light on how data are used for decision making at different levels of government in India, highlight impediments to data utilization, and make a set of actionable recommendations on how the health sector could improve the utilization of data for decision making. 

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