Development and Use of a Master Health Facility List: Haiti’s Experience During the 2010 Earthquake Response
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Author(s): Rose-Wood A, Heard N, Thermidor R, Chan J, Joseph F, Lerebours G, Zugaldia A, Konkel K, Edwards M, Lang B, Rosa-Torresa C
Master health facility lists (MHFLs) are gaining attention as a standards-based means to uniquely identify health facilities and to link facility-level data. The ability to reliably communicate information about specific health facilities can support an array of health system functions, such as routine reporting and emergency response operations. MHFLs support the alignment of donor-supported health information systems with county-owned systems. Recent World Health Organization draft guidance promotes the utility of MHFLs and outlines a process for list development and governance. Although the potential benefits of MHFLs are numerous and may seem obvious, there are few documented cases of MHFL construction and use.
The international response to the 2010 Haiti earthquake provides an example of how governments, nongovernmental organizations, and others can collaborate within a framework of standards to build a more complete and accurate list of health facilities. Prior to the earthquake, the Haitian Ministry of Health (Ministe`re de la Sante´ Publique et de la Population [MSPP]) maintained a list of public-sector health facilities but lacked information on privately managed facilities. Following the earthquake, the MSPP worked with a multinational group to expand the completeness and accuracy of the list of health facilities, including information on post-quake operational status. This list later proved useful in the response to the cholera epidemic and is now incorporated into the MSPP’s routine health information system. Haiti’s experience demonstrates the utility of MHFL formation and use in crisis as well as in the routine function of the health information system.
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