oa South African Health Review - Information for Primary Health Care : Primary Health Care : systems support

Volume 2008 Number 1
  • ISSN : 1025-1715



This chapter reviews the role of information in decision making for Primary Health Care. The concepts inherent in a routine health information system, and the measures to supplement that data with population surveys and special studies are discussed. The importance of investing in human resources is also emphasised in this chapter. Issues such as the need to have adequate staff with appropriate skills to support the health information system are discussed, particularly because health information systems is a new field, which is poorly addressed by undergraduate training courses at present. The District Health Information System software and other information databases are described as the tools that support and inform the use of information for management and supervision at local and district levels. The information system is used for monitoring health services at facility level and is a powerful evaluation tool. Possible priority developments in the health information system are described. The chapter concludes with specific recommendations for strengthening health information systems in South Africa.

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