The mandate for MEASURE Evaluation, funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), is to work globally to strengthen capacity in low-resource countries to gather, analyze, and use data in robust health information systems (HIS) for decision making to achieve better health outcomes. MEASURE Evaluation and USAID have defined indicators and targets to measure countries’ achievement toward robust HIS; but there is a level above such granular measurement that also will greatly inform this effort. We call it the Learning Agenda, as described in this fact sheet.
As we embark on this effort, we have defined broad questions to help us develop a theoretical framework to understand what a high-performing health information system looks like:
What are the factors and conditions of HIS performance progress? How should we measure key HIS concepts and functions?
What are the stages of progression to a strong HIS? What comes first, typically? Or is there a typical pattern of progression?
What are the characteristics of a strong HIS? What seem to be the drivers of HIS improvement and what strategies do those drivers suggest?
Strong health systems are central to achieving better health outcomes, and strong health information systems (HIS) are the backbone of strong health systems. A properly functioning HIS gets the right information into the right hands at the right time, enabling policymakers, managers, and individual service providers to make informed choices about everything from patient care to national budgets. Strong health information systems support greater transparency and accountability by increasing access to information. Unfortunately, many low and middle-income countries (LMICs) have a long way to go to achieve these goals.
MEASURE Evaluation works in partnership with global, national, and local partners to strengthen HIS. Dedicated to achieving sustainable improvements in health system performance and health outcomes, the project builds capacity to generate, manage, and use health information at both national and subnational levels.
Access a fact sheet on MEASURE Evaluation’s HIS work.
Global Health and International Community: Ethical, political and regulatory challenges
Coggon, John and Swati Gola, editors. New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2015
In a world in which international travel and commerce are increasing, this text offers a global perspective on health threats and how to respond to them. The contributors examine the challenges to this approach including multi-organizational cooperation, global governance, international relations, climate change policy, and GMOs.
Quality data are essential in public health settings to facilitate good decisions on policy and service provision and to track health trends and the effectiveness of interventions. Health informatics (HI), sometimes called “digital health,” “eHealth,” or “mHealth,” is a health information system empowered and amplified by technology.
MEASURE Evaluation is the U.S. Agency for International Development’s primary mechanism for strengthening health information systems and is contributing thought leadership and support for the implementation of HI. We focus on overcoming challenges to developing strong national health information systems and help to create the enabling environment so such systems can develop. We also are helping countries to establish program-specific systems, such as for malaria, especially where a full HI system is not yet possible but where the need for subsets of data is critical.
Access a fact sheet on MEASURE Evaluation’s HI work.
Information on births and deaths by age, sex, and cause of death is the cornerstone of public health planning. It is used to allocate resources and to determine which programs are effective. However, each year about 40 percent of births and two-thirds of deaths are still not registered. The essential role of civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS) is recognized by country and multilateral agencies working to improve global health. CRVS data are needed to monitor many of the United Nations goals for global health by the year 2030, known as the sustainable development goals, or SDGs. And the reduction of maternal and child deaths are a top priority of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), as expressed in the report on ending preventable child and maternal deaths (EPCMD) and the AIDS-free generation (AFG).
MEASURE Evaluation is USAID’s primary mechanism for strengthening health information systems, including CRVS. The project has more than a decade of experience working closely with low- to middle-income (LMIC) countries to improve their CRVS systems. This fact sheet describes standard and innovative approaches to measuring CRVS data, including in settings where a complete CRVS system isn’t fully functional, but there are multiple other sources of data.
Join the HIV/AIDS Monitoring and Evaluation Network (AIMEnet) September 10 at 9:00am EDT for the “Using Data to Support the Most Vulnerable: An OVC Information Needs Framework” webinar. MEASURE Evaluation’s Molly Cannon and Lisa Parker will lead the one-hour webinar. The webinar will present and discuss the OVC Information Needs Framework.
In a southern region of Ethiopia, data reported in November 2012 showed for every woman who arrived at a health post for a first checkup during pregnancy, many did not return and slightly fewer than half came in for the recommended fourth visit. But only a year later, data in the same region showed two-thirds of pregnant women made that fourth visit. Regional data also revealed that in November 2012, close to 6,000 babies were born in qualified health centers. A year later, there were 12,000 births in health centers – a 103 percent increase.
Clearly, something is changing – with dramatic results. It’s not a new computer system and it’s not a huge financial investment. It’s a simple shift in how health facilities gather and use information in a paper-based “Family Folder” kept for every family in the area so health workers can follow up. The Family Folder is an innovation at the most basic level of Ethiopia’s health system – the rural health post. It is tied to a reformed national health information management system (HMIS), funded in part by the U.S. Agency for International Development, working with MEASURE Evaluation’s HMIS Scale-up Project.