Enhancing Use of Routine Health Information for Family Planning to Influence Decision Making in Tanzania

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Author(s): Peter Bujari

Year: 2017

Enhancing Use of Routine Health Information for Family Planning to Influence Decision Making in Tanzania Abstract:

Family planning (FP) is a priority in Tanzania’s health sector and in strategies for reducing poverty. Family planning makes a critical contribution to reducing both maternal and child deaths. However, implementation of Tanzania’s FP policy has faced challenges for many years because of inadequate allocation of funds. As a result, Tanzania has low rates of FP use, a high fertility rate, and high maternal mortality.

This study examined the sources of FP data in Tanzania and how the data are collected, analysed, and used to inform planning and budgeting. The study investigated five research questions:

  1. What kind of routine health information is collected for FP and how often does this process happen?
  2. Who is involved in the information chain at every level of data consumption?
  3. How adequate is the FP health management information system (HMIS), particularly to inform decisions for FP?
  4. How and at what level are the data analysed?
  5. What can be done to address existing information gaps to influence decisions for FP services?

This was a cross-sectional descriptive study with convenience sampling. The study compared the best-performing and worst-performing  regions in relation to key FP indicators.

At the national level, the study involved the Reproductive and Child Health Section of the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly, and Children. Key informant interviews were conducted with 31 members of the study population, and data were analysed using the Statistical Package for Social Scientists version 23.0 and a qualitative pattern-matching approach.

We found that a system for FP data collection has been established at all health facilities, but has limited inclusion of the private sector and of outreach or community-based information. This is coupled with inadequate analysis and use of information to inform planning and budgeting. The paper-based HMIS needs to be harmonised with the new, electronic district health information system, DHIS 2. 

Filed under: Family Planning , Data Demand and Use , Tanzania