By Michael Christopher
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Additional info for All about African Elephants (All About Series Book 85 Level K)
Data collection and utilization at the health facilities are likewise poor. Even though structures for data collection, reporting, and feedback exist at every level of the health care system, their level of functionality is marginal. At the primary health care level, where all data are captured and generated, there is still inadequate capacity of health workers in terms of skills to record accurate data, conduct the analysis, and effectively use the information for decision-making. The system is understaffed and carries a heavy workload.
This level of facilities is staffed by two village health workers, who are selected by the village council and briefly trained to respond to villagers’ non-threatening health conditions. The dispensary health services, or the second level, provide more advanced preventive care catered for localities that have a larger population ranging from 6000 to 10,000. The third level of the pyramid, the health center, offers more advanced services to up to 50,000 people, comparable to the population of one administrative division, and are sources of patient referrals to the next level, namely, the district hospital (Ministry of Health and Social Welfare 2013).
Data capturing and reporting is still largely paper-based, and only a few initiatives on electronic health management information system are underway but are donor-driven. What is needed is the strengthening of the capacity of the MOH and the district health systems through skills training, improving staffing, and regularly supporting supervision. Therefore, increasing funding with strict accountability for such health systems and improving activities are not an option but a priority. Along with the problems noted for the three Eastern African countries, the health care system faces many challenges daily, and Tanzania is illustrative of the situation.