Some stakeholders in health sector on Wednesday recommended the use of accurate data to help improve the Nigerian healthcare system.
They made the call at the closing of a two-day National Health Management Information System (NHMIS) stakeholders’ workshop in Abuja.
They said that availability of accurate, timely, reliable and relevant health information was necessary for improved health sector.
Dr Emmanuel Maribole, the Director, Health Planning Research and Statistics at the Federal Ministry of Health said “data provides for planning and decision making.
“Accurate data is essential for evidence-based decision making and for improved care for patients. Routine data is key in measuring the quality of healthcare and control of epidemics.
“It provides information for regular planning and decision making at various levels of care. The most valuable feature of routine data is availability at little cost to the users when compared to the surveys.”
Maribole added that the workshop was an effort toward improving data reporting in Nigeria.
He said that effort would be made to harmonise various available and fragmented data for efficiency in the health sector.
He noted that “in an effort to improve and strengthen routine data reporting and information in Nigeria, the National Council on Health approved the use of single
integrated but decentralised national instance database.
“It is to be domiciled at Federal Ministry of Health for the reporting of routine health data at all levels.
“In spite of government policy, there has been fragmentation in reportage of routine health data in Nigeria. Many of the programmes and implementing partners
use other reporting platforms which are not aligned to national instance.
“This makes it impossible to have all the routine health data in one database.”
The director added that the workshop would help to disseminate findings of the technical assessment to stakeholders.
He said it was also meant to provide opportunity for further discussions, and develop a road map on strategies toward
achieving functional and effective health information system in the country.
Mr Emma Abatta, the Head, National Health Information System, Federal Ministry of Health, said information is key to quality healthcare.
He said that the workshop was aimed at improving the quality of data needed to plan sustainable health system.
He added that “resources are limited, so, proper planning is needed to ensure that money spent on healthcare is well spent. We need to ensure
that investments are channelled to the right direction.”
Abatta noted that the workshop would ensure that District Health Information Software (DHIS) was used for the benefit of healthcare facilities in the country.
He said “we discovered some deficiencies in the software. We did assessment and decided to collaborate with partners to improve on it.
“We will take recommendations from experts and ensure that those recommendations are implemented.”
He explained that the workshop would lead to centralised data for the health sector.
Nigeria News Agency reports that World Health Organisation (WHO), Global Alliance for Vaccine and Immunization (GAVI)
and the Global Fund, collaborated with Federal Ministry of Health for the workshop.
University of Oslo, Norway, also provided technical support to the ministry on the project.
Participants were drawn from Federal Ministry of Health, some state ministries of health and other health management facilities
Edited by Hadiza Mohammed-Aliyu