The Population Health and Implementation Training (PHIT) Partnerships in Ghana, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Zambia all included health information strengthening initiatives, each implemented with consideration of existing infrastructure and specific population needs and demands.1 While Mozambique, Ghana, and Tanzania focused on improving quality and existing information systems, Zambia and Rwanda introduced new information systems and tools. Sustainability was considered during implementation plans through robust training and integration of new systems into existing information systems.

While the specific intervention strategies differed, there were a few overarching similarities among the countries: flexible approaches to design and ability to refine tools, performance summaries to aid decision makers in allocation of resources and priorities, and use of Ministry of Health information systems to ensure that changes are aligned with national priorities and improve sustainability.1 Building from these similarities, the authors noted three implementation lessons from the programs:

  • Implementation of new technology should be coupled with stakeholder meetings, data review, and mentoring in the use of data in addition to training for use of new information systems;
  • Health information systems should be designed to be fully integrated with national health information technology; and
  • Mobile phone technology can complement EMRs in rural areas but any interventions using mHealth require initial costs in both infrastructure and capacity building including cellular networks and charging ability.1

References:

  1. Mutale W, Chintu N, Amoroso C, Awoonor-Williams K, Phillips J, Baynes C, et al. Improving health information systems for decision making across five sub-Saharan African countries: Implementation strategies from the African Health Initiative. BMC Health Serv Res [Internet]. 2013;13(Suppl 2):S9. Available from: http://bmchealthservres.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1472-6963-13-S2-S9