Over 100 workers of the Ministry of Health, from districts around the country have been trained in data analysis and scientific publication to help in decentralizing the health database.
According to the Director of Tracnet, Kizito Kayumba, the move is aimed at helping districts health workers to feed and control their data at the district level.
Tracnet is an electronic information system that allows people involved in anti-retroviral treatment programs to electronically submit reports and have timely access to vital information.
“Health information has been centralised at the national level making it hard to use for policy making, but this new move is going to be instrumental in helping policy makers monitor each district separately,” said Kayumba.
He explained that the health workers have been trained and equipped with all the knowledge to operate the information system in their areas.
“We have trained and given them district codes which will allow them to feed and control their information electronically by either using phones or the internet.
The data from the district will then be controlled at the national level and used in policy making.”
The health personnel were also trained in applying basic analytical procedures using statistical analysis software to develop the skills and tools needed to write citable research papers for publication.
The trainees were able to produce abstracts and posters that can be presented in national and international conferences using the present datasets in the health sector.
Speaking at the closing ceremony of the training, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Agnes Binagwaho, urged participants to engage in research whole heartedly since Rwanda needs their work.
“Rwanda is sitting on a data base time bomb,” said Binagwaho adding that there are many publications written on Rwanda but few have been written by Rwandans and that few Rwandans read publications by Rwandans.
“The idea behind this is to fight the number of publications written by outsiders so we can cultivate and spread the spirit of research in Rwanda.”
The Director of the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Pratima L. Raghunathan, urged the participants to use the data available in researching so they can impact on the policy making in the health sector.