Challenges and strategies for implementation of sustainable integrated health management information in Tanzania

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University of Dar es Salaam
Fragmentation of health management information system (HMIS) in Tanzania. as observed in many other developing countries, is major challenge for availability of quality and reliable health information. There have been some unsuccessful attempts to integrate HMIS in Tanzania but still the integration is considered as a potential solution to solve fragmentation challenges. The main objective of this study was to explore the process of integration of vertical programmes information systems with the national HMIS within District Health Information System (DHIS) data-warehouse. The study focused on the following specific objectives: to assess challenges around implementation ofsustainable integrated HMIS within DHIS at district and central level; to propose strategies for implementation of sustainable integrated HMIS within DHIS. To meet these objectives, the study employed qualitative research approach. Data collection was mainly through participation in the implementation of HMIS integration initiative and methods employed were interviews, meetings, documents review, and observation. The findings show that implementation of a sustainable integrated HMIS faces the following challenges: lack of clear definition on the extent of HMIS integration; the strength of HMIS installed base which make it difficult to penetrate the concept of integrated HMIS; unequipped personnel at the facilities and district level to handle HMIS: lack of databases interoperable standards for data sharing; limited resources; lack of policy guideline; poor representation of HMIS stakeholders in the implementation process. The study recommends that for a developing country like Tanzania to establish a strong and sustainable integrated HMIS the following should be done: detaching from the strength of the existing HMIS setting; introducing health information policy guideline; synergizing available resources from independent programmes with central coordination; building a strong local technical team to support the processes; controlling the technology; integrating health information systems trainings for students in health colleges.
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information, health management system, HMIS, Tanzania
Mndeme, M.(2011) Challenges and strategies for implementation of sustainable integrated health management information in Tanzania. Master dissertation, University of Dar es Salaam. Dar es Salaam.