Bridging gaps in health information systems: a case study from Somaliland, Somalia

Authors: Ahmed Askar, Malekafzali Ardakani  and Reza Majdzade

2017, Eastern Mediterranan Health Journal

Reliable and timely health information is fundamental for health information systems (HIS) to work effectively. This case study aims to assess Somaliland HIS in terms of its contextual situation, major weaknesses and proposes key evidence-based recommendations. Data were collected through national level key informants’ interviews, observations, group discussion and scoring using the HIS framework and assessment tool developed by World Health Organization Health Metrics Network (WHO/HMN). The study found major weaknesses including: no policy, strategic plan and legal framework in place; fragmented sub-information systems; Poor information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure; poorly motivated and under-skilled personnel; dependence on unsustainable external funds; no census or civil registration in place; data from private health sector not captured; insufficient technical capacity to analyse data collected by HIS; and information is not widely shared, disseminated or utilized for decision-making. We recommend developing a national HIS strategic plan that harmonizes and directs collective efforts to become a more integrated, cost-effective and sustainable HIS.

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