oa South African Journal of Information Management - Quality of a routine data collection system for health : case of Kinondoni district in the Dar es Salaam region, Tanzania
The routine data collection system for health in Tanzania is known as the health management information system (HMIS). This system is used by all health care facilities, public and non-public. A study was carried out in the Kinondoni municipality to assess the quality of the routine data collected at health facility level. The quality of data was measured by looking at the amount of accuracy shown in calculating and transcribing outpatient attendance data; how thoroughly the selected data tables and forms were filled in and the timeliness of reporting. These factors were determined by observing the records of 69 health facilities and those of the municipality. Only half (34 of 69) of the facilities were found to have data books filled in adequately enough to enable the assessment of the data. Of these, the data were 64, 2% complete. The completion rate was higher among government facilities (71, 6%) compared to private facilities (54, 8%). Calculation variance was 90, 2% (ranging between 15% and 316%) and transcription variance was 86, 4% (ranging from -52, 8% to 59, 9%), suggesting the existence of significant inconsistencies in data calculations and transcription, thus rendering the data inaccurate and unreliable. Timeliness measured by the reporting rate of various forms for the previous four years/quarters ranged between 0% and 43, 3%. This article concludes by outlining the impact poor quality of data has on the provision of health services and gives recommendations for improvement.
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