Ministry launches improved district health information system

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Staff Reporter

Windhoek-The health ministry on Friday launched its second district health information system, following the maiden launch of the system in 2003. The ministry says the system has been successfully used to record, monitor and analyse facts and figures that quantitatively describe the healthcare situation in Namibia.

The US Ambassador to Namibia, Thomas Daughton, explained that the first district health information system was just one of a half dozen different data-capturing platforms.
The competing platforms meant that information was fragmented, making it extremely difficult to consolidate, triangulate and analyse data, he said.

“[The latest improved] district health information system fixes that. It is a significantly improved, routine data monitoring system that provides a single platform to capture and aggregate all health data,” said Daughton.

The improvements in the new system make it fundamentally more versatile, added Daughton, who gave examples of the usefulness of the system.

Amongst others, the new system makes it possible for the health ministry to monitor the real-time performance of healthcare delivery through indicators like bed occupancy rate and the number of out-patient visits. It also makes it possible to provide data to inform decisions about resource allocation and budgeting.

“The end result – and this is the basic goal – will be more effective delivery of health services to Namibians. In short, we are here today to celebrate the improvement of a system that has been working but will now work even better, a system that has been updated to meet the needs of Namibia in 2017 and in the years to come,” said Daughton.

He added that the technology underlying the new system is already used in more than 50 countries on four continents.

“So we are in good company launching a system that we know will meet the demands we will place on it. The district health information system will improve the timeliness and quality of data collected, improve how the data is visualised and interpreted and most importantly improve how the collected data is used,” Daughton said.

Health and Social Services Minister Dr Bernard Haufiku said at that occasion that the health ministry keeps moving in the right direction in its quest to migrate from the use of paper.

“Even though the first version worked well and did what it was supposed to do, it was not as efficient as the current version which is now web-based,” Haufiku said. – Additional reporting: Nampa

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