By Breese Arenth, Program Officer, Digital Health Solutions
Mar 1, 2017
Posted in Policies & Practices
At the core of Tanzania’s strategy to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals is a vision of all health workers’ ability to access and meaningfully use the information they need to make the best decisions to improve health. In 2016, supported by PATH, the Government of Tanzania developed and published its digital health investment road map—seventeen investment recommendations for data systems and data use to improve health sector performance.
Routine access and use of high-quality data can play a pivotal role in supporting these goals by increasing quality and reach of care while reducing cost. Today people are making critical health decisions without access to quality information. Work like the BID Initiative has demonstrated the benefit of and laid the groundwork for this comprehensive, national strategy to strengthen data use for health.
One of the biggest components of the investment road map is to computerize primary health care. What does that mean? This means supporting health workers in their critical, quotidian responsibilities, like vaccinating children. With access to proven digital solutions such as the BID Initiative’s Electronic Immunization Registry, health workers can provide care, decision support, improve patient record-keeping, and enable accurate and timely reporting to management. Beginning with a pilot phase in three regions over three years, this approach would inform preparations for national scale to improve primary health care for all Tanzanians.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has already promised to invest. The next stop on the road is to begin implementing the foundational elements and secure additional resources to implement the rest.