Proper management of health data crucial in improving care - experts

Quality of health care can improve drastically if relevant information is efficiently managed. The remarks were made during a workshop to mark the closure of the Integrated Health System Strengthening Project (IHSSP), a five-year United States Agency for International Development (Usaid) funded initiative aimed at enhancing health information, financing, human resources, and service quality management.
Patients at Kacyiru Police Hospital wait for service recently.(File)
Patients at Kacyiru Police Hospital wait for service recently.(File)

Quality of health care can improve drastically if relevant information is efficiently managed.

The remarks were made during a workshop to mark the closure of the  Integrated Health System Strengthening Project (IHSSP), a five-year United States Agency for International Development (Usaid) funded initiative aimed at enhancing health information,  financing, human resources, and  service quality management.

“Effectively collected and stored data enables evidence based decision making,” said Apoline Uwayitu, the IHSSP project manager.

 According to Uwayitu, the $24.8 million project was crucial in the countrywide implementation of the Health Management Information System (HMIS), a data gathering system deployed in over 700 public and private health facilities.

IHSSP and Unicef,  also partnered in the implementation of the  roll-out of the Rapid SMS, a cell phone-based information system used by about 45,000 community health workers for reporting, monitoring pregnant women  and their babies to ensure healthy pregnancies, births, and newborns.

 “We also focused on the development and implementation of community-based health insurance with a focus on the most vulnerable,” Uwayitu stated.

Usaid Mission Director Peter A. Malnak said the organisation could not be more proud of the impressive things the project has achieved.

“From the implementation of the national health insurance scheme, to the development of policies and strategies that will assist Rwanda to eventually finance its own healthcare, the Integrated Health System Strengthening project has helped put Rwanda’s health system on track,” he said in a statement.

Since its launch, the project has worked closely with the Ministry of Health to improve the health system in five key areas: health information, health financing, human resources, service quality, and structures for decentralisation.

Challenges

Uwayitu pointed out that although during the five years, five provincial hospitals managed to make it to the first phase of accreditation, a lot more needs to be done for them to make it through the remaining  three levels to qualify for full accreditation.

Dr Agnes Binagwaho, the Minister for Health, said similar projects would soon be launched to sustain the progress.

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