Data Demand and Information Use
The Department of Health (DoH) District Health Management Information System (DHMIS) Policy calls for revision of the National Indicator Data Set (NIDS) and the Provincial Indicator Data Set (PIDS) and its implementation, and as well as for strengthened use of information. This is to enable the DoH and its partners improve the health care system, and ultimately health outcomes. Up-to-date, relevant, good quality, reliable and timely information from the routine health information system is required.
Volumes of data are generated, involving a wide range of staff at various levels of the health system. Data is collected on over 100 indicators from over 4,000 health facilities in 52 districts of the 9 provinces in South Africa.
- Health workers are infrequently trained on DDU.
- Many staff have limited awareness of, and fail to participate in, the established DoH data demand process; that is reviewing the National Indicator Data Set (NIDS) and the Provincial Indicator Data Set (PIDS).
- Data is collected at health facilities, but there is little engaging with it before submission to the next level of the health system, nor are targets well known.
- Provision of feedback, performance review, and information use does not always flow down to health facilities.
- In addition, although information is increasingly available, many staff do not find the presented formats useable, or know how to analize and interpret data, nor is data use in decision/policy making or advocacy institutionalized.
Data Demand and Information Use (DDU) approach includes a powerful set of activities to ensure programs and management:
The approach addresses technical, organizational and behavioural determinants that affect DDU. When applied the DDU approach improves information use for effective program implementation, improvement, advocacy, and evidence-based decision or policy making.
Response by MEval-SIFSA
MEval-SIFSA is helping the DoH at national, provincial and district levels to improve its efficiency and effectiveness by identifying data needs, understanding indicators and targets, improving data quality, analyzing data, presenting and using information for decision/policy making to improve health outcomes. Focus is on routine health information. MEval-SIFSA also works in partnership with PEPFAR partners operating at district and lower levels of the health care system.
The DDU capacity enhancement approach includes training workshops (in Data Analysis and Communicating Data for Decision Making), providing ongoing technical assistance, and developing information products. The diagram below shows how MEval-SIFSA’s support will assist DoH to increase the use of routine health information for decision/policy making and advocacy, which ultimately contributes to improved service delivery and health outcomes.