The Ministry of Health and Sanitation and its partners on 6th July, 2017 officially launched the Digital Data Pilot Program in Bombali district and trained up to 60 health workers on the use of the new data collection tool. This new technology would enble health workers to collect and generate quality data on health care service delivery from Peripheral Health Units (PHUs), to the District Health Management Team and later to the central level electronically. This process would enable the Govenment through the Ministry of Health and Sanitation to better plan and provide support to the districts for improved health care service delivery for mothers and babies in Sierra Leone.
Health Worker showing electronic data collection device after the training
During the launch, the Director of Policy Planning and Information at the Ministry of Health, Dr. SAS Kargbo, revealled that “the effective and consistent collection of every data within our community will inform policy change for a quality health care system.”
He further disclosed that the Data collection system under the Saving Lives Programme should be utilized correctly and every valuable information or data interpreted with precision to improve the health care system.
This he emphasized would enhance improvement in the Data system to ensure all district health authorities introduce new approaches for improved health outcomes in the country.
Giving an overview on the Saving Lives Programme on behalf of the CHANGES Consortium, Mohammad B Jalloh, the CEO FOCUS 1000, expressed his dissatisfaction at the current shocking trends of maternal and child mortality in Sierra Leone. Mr. Jalloh further informed participants that the overarching goal of the Saving Lives Project with funds from DFID is to save the lives of women and children in Sierra Leone with the support and leadership of the Ministry of Health and Sanitation and UN Agencies. The objective he added, is to drastically reduce the current trend of maternal and child mortality in the country.
He continued that FOCUS 1000’s component in the consortium is to ensure the swift and accurate collection of credible data is done. Adding that FOCUS 1000 also facilitates correct reporting and entry of the data by various PHUs across the country into the database in order to ensure evidence based quality improvements in the healthcare sector.
He advised PHUs staff to collect correct and complete data and submit the information on time to enhance quality assurance and effective monitoring of the healthcare sector.
The Director of Research and Evaluation FOCUS 1000, Mr. Paul Sengeh, alluded to the point that the Saving Lives Project is not a new project but a continuation of the approach using mobile data technology systems for collecting data from PHUs and storing the information into a centralised database.
At the end of the training sessions, participants were able to demonstrate use of the recording system with various practical sessions using digital tablets equipment.
The training of health workers on the use of this new technology will be cascaded to other districts as part of the terms of reference of the project.
Written by Bridget Lewis