oa South African Health Review - Health information as a catalyst for community health system engagement - case study

Volume 2018 Number 1
  • ISSN : 1025-1715



This case study reviews lessons learned from an intervention bringing together two familiar but often un-connected domains, namely health information systems and community engagement. Health information is a fundamental building block in the health system, and community engagement is recognised as a critical foundation for the delivery of quality, people-centred and resilient health services. While South Africa has made impressive progress in both domains over the last 20 years, challenges persist. Health information systems are often fragmented, costly, inefficient, and based on data of uncertain quality. In South Africa, there is also little experience with effective use of health information in decision-making, especially at primary health care level.6,7 Efforts to promote community engagement also face various challenges, including a technocratic, hospi-centric and over-worked health system; community distrust and disenchantment with health staff; and lack of policies, models and resources for effective community engagement.

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