Integrating Family Planning Data from Public and Private Health Facilities in Malawi: How Current Approaches Align with FP2020 Goals

Author(s): Evelyn Evah Mwaungulu, MPH; Zione Dembo, MSc; Peter Mtema, MScs

Year: 2018

Integrating Family Planning Data from Public and Private Health Facilities in Malawi: How Current Approaches Align with FP2020 Goals Abstract:

Introduction: Family planning (FP) data from public and private health providers in Malawi is not integrated. The country’s 2016 costed implementation plan  review of progress indicated a modern methods contraceptive prevalence rate of 45 percent, far below the 60 percent goal. However, this figure excludes data from private facilities, which provide up to 40 percent of the health care in Malawi.

Objectives: The objective of this study was to find approaches to improve the national health information system by integrating FP data from private-sector service delivery points and government facilities. This research aligns with MEASURE Evaluation’s approach of addressing health information systems holistically

Methods: A qualitative approach brought both primary and secondary data sources into the analysis. Primary data were collected through key informant interviews and field observations. The study targeted three main actors from the private sector: Christian Health Association of Malawi (CHAM) facilities; Banja La Mtsogolo (BLM) clinics, a Marie Stopes International (MSI) franchise; and Population Services International (PSI) and its franchising clinics and pharmacies.

Findings: Both private and public institutions make a significant contribution toward provision of FP services, even though they do not always provide the same FP methods. A system is in place for dataflow from private facilities to the nearest government facility for consolidation in monthly reports to be included in DHIS 2. However, this system faces multiple challenges.

Recommendations: To integrate FP data generated by private facilities in the government system, we recommend conducting periodic meetings between the DHOs and private hospitals to share data, instituting proper systems for consolidating shared data, and harmonizing the private health facilities’ data management systems with the government system. Furthermore, the DHOs must take responsibility for encouraging private service providers to share their data for a minimum set of indicators.

Conclusion: Because both public and private facilities provide FP services, FP data integration is an important step toward improving site-level health services, a goal shared by the Government of Malawi and MEASURE Evaluation.

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