Health workers trained in quality data collection and analysis for accurate decision making

About 180 health workers drawn from various health facilities in Lilongwe have undergone training on how they can be able to collect quality data and analyse it in order to make informed decisions that would lead to improved service delivery.

The participants
Some of the participants in the training

The health workers, among others, comprise matrons, clinicians and clerks.

The training came curtesy of Kuunika Data for Action, a four year project funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation aimed at establishing a strong base of high-quality routinely available data and an engrained culture of data use among technicians and policy makers in the health sector, using HIV as a first use case.

According to Public Health Specialist for Kuunika Data for Action Martha Saidi, research has revealed that most health personnel in Malawi lack knowledge and skills for collecting quality data and to analyse it in order to use it for decision making.

“In August 2017, we had been in Lilongwe, Blantyre, Thyolo, Zomba and Mangochi to find out how much health workers there knew about data collection and analysis. It was established that most of them did not know what information they needed and how they could use it for decision making,” said Saidi.

She said this after journalists came to Mponela in Dowa District where some of the health workers were being trained.

Saidi disclosed that a training manual has been developed and is being used to train health workers on the skills they need to ensure that the data they collect in health facilities is of good quality and use it to improve patient care and resource allocation.

She said this will be made possible by unlocking a number of capabilities in the healthcare system.

“We need to enable the system to be able to triangulate HIV program data with epidemiological input and resource data to inform planning, management and inpact assessment.

“The system needs to set performance and quality targets routinely and be able to measure performance against targets and also assign and manage collective actions.

“We also need to enable the system to generate accurate, unique patient counts and also measure patients morbidity and mortality,” Saidi said.

According to Saidi, the Kuunika Data for Action Project has made available Information and Communication Technology (ICT) products in health facilities to support data access and release among health workers.

These ICT products include District Health Information Software (DHIS) dashboards, Master Health Facility Registry, Mobile Supportive Supervision Tool and HMIS dashboard apps.

“These products, especially DHIS dashboards will help health workers to access data real time routinely while HMIS dashboard apps will enable the workers to access data anytime because the apps will be on their phones,” said Saidi.

Albert Kalilani, a Clerk at Nambuma rural mission hospital, was happy that the training will improve his work, saying the manual collection, organisation and filing of reports from various departments at his facility was tiresome.

And Anne Chinoko, Medical Technician and Facility In charge at Dzedza Health Centre, said the training will enable her to manage data properly and ensure completeness and relevance of her reports for effective decision making and policy formulation.

“I now understand why in the past some information in our possession was contradicting itself and partners found it not to be a true reflection of issues on the ground,” Chinoko said.

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Nachi
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Nachi

Great Initiative, this is the direction we ought to take as a nation. Evidence from the quality data in the health sector would be helpful making proper decisions and save quite a lot of resources for the development of this nation!