The Tanzania Health Data Collaborative was formally launched in Dar es Salaam this week
The government on Wednesday signed a health data collaborative communique with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and development partners group with a focus to support the plans to improve the quality of health data and health information systems.
Following the signing of the communique, the different stakeholders at national, regional and global health would now be able to work together more effectively and efficiently to make a bigger impact of investments and in country health information settings.
Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Dr Zainab Chaula, said Tanzania was committed to strengthening its Health Information System (HIS) through harmonisation of data from the routine health information systems such as the Health Management Information System (HMIS), surveillance systems, health sentinel sites and vital registrations.
“On the other hand, the health sector is harmonising data from the periodic data systems such as Demographic and Health Surveys, Health Facility Assessments and Census, so we urge development partners to support the implementation of this initiative. On the immunisation drive, Dr Ulisubisya said the ongoing project in the three regions of Arusha, Tanga and Kilimanjaro, which is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the government has made efforts to transform into a digital system where health workers have tablets which help them to collect data.
The communique lays the groundwork for joining up all data on health. Its priorities are:
- Addressing fragmentation of M&E and data systems: A strong governance and coordination mechanism is required to ensure all stakeholders adhere to the One M&E Framework.
- Alignment of indicators and data collection processes: Align indicators of programme specific strategic plans with the Health Sector Strategic Plan 2015-2020 (HSSP IV) and harmonise data collection efforts.
- Alignment of health facility assessments and surveys: These include SARA, SPA, SDI, and Star Rating Assessments (BRN+SafeCare).
- Joint and aligned investment in digital health information systems (including digitization to move away with paper systems): Integrate information systems at service provider level and collect standardized data elements.
- Strengthening capacity for analysis and use of data: Increase access to and capacity for analysis and use at all levels and all key players.
- Dissemination and access: Improve access to national health information and data (routinedata, surveys, research publications, reports).
Declaration of Commitment
We, the stakeholders here gathered, under the firm leadership of the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania through the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children (MOHCDGEC) and the President’s Office Regional Administration and Local Government (PORALG), hereby declare:
We confirm our strong support to Government efforts to strengthen health data systems, policies and governance, based on the priorities outlined by the Tanzania Development Vision 2025, Five Year Development Plan, the National Health Policy, the Health Sector Strategic Plan IV, and other national and sector guidance documents.
We recognize the efforts of the Government to identify the priorities, gaps, and potential overlaps to implement interventions to improve data quality and use to monitor the national health priorities and commitments, and to ensure increased efficiencies and smart investments in data systems.
We recognize that new technologies contribute to improving the performance of health systems and the collection, analysis, use and dissemination of data. These opportunities should be harnessed and integrated into current efforts to strengthen the health information system.
We recognize the role of the Government through the MOHCDGEC and PORALG to work with partners and other stakeholders to define an adequate data governance structure for the health sector, to ensure adequate implementation of current policies and strategies such as the MESI 2015-2020 and the Digital Health Investment Roadmap 2017-2023, among others. The National Bureau of Statistics will host a coordinating function to integrate these efforts.
We are guided by the principles captured in the Five Point Call to Action and the principles outlined by the Summit on Measurement and Accountability for Results in Health, being cognizant that regular measurement of results with a focus on equity is essential for the progressive realization of Universal Health Coverage and the Sustainable Development Goals.
We are committed to promoting dialogue and co-operation with Government, Ministries, Departments and other Agencies to ensure the goals and vision of this declaration are achieved.
We pledge to provide, where appropriate, technical and/or financial resources to realize this vision.