Boost to Healthcare as New Technology is Unveiled

13 Feb 2014

imageThe new software is tailored to the increasingly robust health care system, allowing for real-time data processing and efficient service delivery (Photo: Jacqui Taylor)

Working in his office at the Mutare district hospital, Mr. Maxwell Tinorwa, a counsellor, shifts through volumes of health information data on his computer, a task that is made much easier and simplified through the application of the new District Health Information System version 2 (DHIS-2). 

The system enables quick processing of health data for reporting and to inform timely decision-making.
“At the click of a computer mouse, I am able to retrieve, analyse and present information in an aggregated manner” he says, adding, “this has made life easier and reporting quicker.”

Introduced in 2010 as DHIS 1.4, through Global Fund (GF), Centre for Disease Control (CDC) and UNFPA funding, the system was upgraded to DHIS-2 in 2013 with support from Global Fund, CDC and UNICEF managed Health Transition Fund.

The DHIS-2 software package is tailored to integrated health information systems, providing a dramatic improvement in data management and analysis for health programme monitoring and evaluation.  Its utility is diverse ranging from processing facility registries and service availability mapping to logistics management and mobile tracking of pregnant mothers in rural communities.

 “The new system will ensure the availability of real-time data and information for decision making, allowing the Ministry to detect and respond to outbreaks or other health events early,” explains Dr. Nyika, deputy director of Health Information System (HIS) in the Ministry of Health and Child Care (MoHCC). Being an online system, it helps in timely reporting and access to data and information. “Its in-built data quality checks are very useful in minimising data inaccuracies,” observes Dr. Nyika, adding that the design and flexibility of this system “will allow the ministry to incorporate other programme databases into the national data repository.”

So far, 11 reporting systems have been integrated into the DHIS-2 thereby minimizing multiple reporting systems within the MoHCC.

Expressing Global Fund’s commitment to Zimbabwe’s efforts towards strengthening the country’s health system, Mr. Perry Mwangala who is the Global Fund Senior Fund Portfolio Manager, High Impact Africa 2 Department described DHIS-2 as a very efficient tool in “providing real-time data to help decision making at all levels of service delivery”.

Mr. Mwangala who oversees the country’s portfolio at the Global Fund contends that the initiative will have a ripple effect in the country as districts benchmark against each other and in the process, improving service delivery.
Before the economic decline in the last decade, Zimbabwe used to have one of the best health systems in the region and still has the potential to recreate a robust health system with modest investment, he relates.

”The Global Fund will continue to partner with Zimbabwe to sustain the current systems being set up” stated Mr. Mwangala.