Improving Data Use in Decision Making: An Intervention to Strengthen Health Systems
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Author(s): Nutley T
The World Health Organization’s framework for health systems strengthening identifies six attributes of a health system: a health workforce; health services; health financing; governance and leadership; medical products, vaccines, and technologies; and health information. While each building block of the WHO framework is important, quality and timely data from health information systems are the foundation of the health system and inform decision making in each of the other five building blocks of the health system. Health systems require quality data from health information systems to plan for and ensure that the workforce is fully funded and equipped with the necessary commodities, infrastructure, resources, and policies to deliver services. Health data are, in and of themselves, prerequisites to improving each of the other five building blocks. This paper discusses the unique role of health data in strengthening the other five building blocks of health systems and defines specific interventions to strengthen the use of data in decision making. It also provides a framework for developing, monitoring, and evaluating interventions to improve the use of and demand for data. The overall aim of the paper is to articulate specific interventions that can improve the demand for and use of data in decision making so that improvements in the other health building blocks can be realized.
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