In This Issue:
Hewlett Delegation at INDEPTH Network Secretariat
HDSS And Health Facilities Link Up Data For Effective Health Policy
INDEPTH Training and Research Centres of Excellence (INTREC) Kick off Meeting
INDEPTH Network Advances Its Data Quality Assurance
Throughout most of the developing world, billions of people die without any registration; their lives go unrecorded; and are unable to influence health and social policies and programming.
Locate Us INDEPTH Network 40 Mensah Wood Street, East Legon P.O. Box KD 213 Kanda Accra - Ghana Tel: 233-0302-519394 / Fax: 233-0302-519395
HDSS And Health Facilities link up data for Effective Health Policy
By Kabio Casimir Donlebo Kintampo HDSS
INDEPTH Network continues to demonstrate in every respect, the massive potential of its member centres' data to provide information that can adequately and reliably guide national and international health policy. Considering the uniqueness of demographic surveillance data, few can deny that they are truly evidence-based tools that can direct health policy and researh.Linking the demographic surveillance data from INDEPTH’s member HDSSs with health facility data for example, provides enormous opportunities for expanding the usefulness of such HDSS data for several socio-economic developmental indicators.
INDEPTH has been privileged to initiate, coordinate and implement a major project on effectiveness and safety of antimalarial drugs in Africa: the INDEPTH EFFECTIVENESS AND SAFETY STUDIES OF ANTIMALARIALS IN AFRICA (INESS), involving member centres in Ghana, Tanzania, Burkina Faso and Mozambique. In the course of implementing the various interventions under the INESS project, the participating centres gained considerable experience in biometrically linking HDSS data with data from health facilities. This could contribute significantly to formulating a clear methodology for linking the two sets of information together.
Realising the need for more examination of opportunities for data linkage, INDEPTH organised a three-day workshop at the Kintampo Health Research Centre (KHRC) in Ghana from the 6th to 8th February with ten member centres participating. They were: Kintampo, Dodowa and Navrongo HDSS (Ghana), Ifakara and Rufiji HDSS (Tanzania), Nouna and Nanoro HDSS (Burkina Faso), Manhica HDSS (Mozambique), Kisumu HDSS (Kenya), Cross River HDSS (Nigeria) and Agincourt HDSS (South Africa).
Typical of INDEPTH workshops, the three-day programme adopted a hands-on format thus providing a platform for experience sharing, and exploring and examining opportunities for producing the most efficient, effective, cost efficient means for achieving such linkage.
A paper documenting the first experience of the Kintampo data linkage system to be published in an international journal and a draft grant proposal to be submitted to IDRC for an INDEPTH research activity in strengthening health systems in LMICs are two expected outcomes of the workshop.
Two IT Officers from the Kintampo HDSS who have developed an enhanced and more user friendly version of the existing Health Facility Application - the E-bio Reader demonstrated the features of the new application which is currently in use at the six (6) INESS centres.
Welcoming participants, the Director of Kintampo HDSS, Dr. Seth Owusu-Agyei who welcomed participants outlined the significance of the workshop having regard to the frustrations experienced in collecting data at health facilities and communities and the inability to identify possibilities of linkage. He was of the view that the INESS project was a timely demonstration of the potential of effective data linkage in enhancing disease management. He was hopeful that in due course the tool could be deployed in all the 42 INDEPTH HDSS.
INDEPTH Executive Director, Prof. Osman Sankoh underscored the importance of holding similar workshops at the HDSSs to afford participants the opportunity to observe the extent of work at the centres and also for members to exchange knowledge. He noted that INDEPTH was in the process of developing an MSc programme for data managers to provide a clear career path in this critical area of study.
Representatives from Inathi, a private South African company which focuses on promoting health care through technology participated in the meeting. The company is currently working with the Manhica Health Research Centre in Mozambique to provide an integrated mobile clinic application for the centre. They introduced the technology and urged the INDEPTH member centres to examine the possibility of adopting it.
Unable to hide their impressions about the workshop one participant made this comment: “The workshop was quite interesting both technically and from the point of view of sharing experiences. It is helpful in our endeavour to implement data linkage at Manhica”.
Clearly the workshop demonstrated that coming together as a group presents great opportunities for experts to collectively find solutions to common problems – One of the goals of the INDEPTH Network.