120 health sector personnel trained on data collection

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The training which started with 60 M&E personnel in October, 2016 in Makeni in the north ended up in the southern regional City of Bo over the weekend with another batch of 60 in Health Information Management System.

There was a lined up of activities from the eve leading to the graduation from 28 to 29 April, 2017 in Bo ,this ranges from  football gala between  the first  and  second batch of trainees  at the Bo Stadium and later a dinner at Dohas Hotel in Bo under the distinguish  patronage  of the Chairman of  Bo District Council Mr. Joseph Maada Bindi. Presenting transcripts to the first batch of trainees at a dinner in Bo over the weekend, the Deputy Minister of Health and Sanitation 1 Hon. Madina Rahman confirmed that there is now total transformation in the health sector and training of 120 M&E on health information management vi-sa-vis credible data collection and management is no exception.

Talking on the theme: better information, better planning, better health and  vision of health management  information system, the Director of Department  Policy Planning and Information  Dr. Samuel Kargbo  said the training was a realization of a dream  to put Sierra Leone at the top  scale in health sector strengthening  through  harmonize health information management system .

He observed that disintegrated or fragmented data collection by various segments accounted for wrong perception on the health sector over the years but with harmonized data management by the Ministry of Health and Sanitation there will be an opportunity to properly analyze the data or situation and proffer solution.

He maintained that data collection should not be restricted to only urban settings as the country has about 1310 Health Facilities where health information could be sourced so as to enhance better information, planning and better health service delivery.

Given the genesis of the training Dr. Kargbo  said their initial plan was to send 4 personnel  to Kenya to undertake   training in health information management system  but  during one of their meetings with sector players  the training Manager of AMREF Francis  Namesi  suggested that the  will come on  the ground  to do the training  and the proposal was approved by  World Bank  for first set of 60 in 2016 while second set was supported by UNICEF. Both training were cost effective and benefitted 120 instead of 4 personnel.

The Training Manager of Africa Medical Research Foundation (AMREF ) Mr.  Francis Namesi  stated that  they are seeking to  transform the world with humanity high in mind  ,noting that as Africans, we should seek to serve one another to  kick out  briefcase M&E  on the continent. He stated that the training of 120 M&E would notmake a difference if implementation to collect objective and quality data is not actualized.

He promised to extend training opportunity to senior official in the Ministry of Health and Sanitation to proceed on advance training in Kenya in order improves the sector back at home.

The Chairman of Parliamentary oversight committee Hon. A.B Sesay said M&E are very key in national development pointing out the national resources can be properly allocated with credible data.

He said M&E are given the tools to work hard to change the perception of Sierra Leone.

 Representative of UNICEF Andrew Sellu noted that robust M&E system will help bring development.

He maintained that skills acquired by M&E during the training session will enable them collect; collate and analyze quality data to improve the lives of women and children in the country. He therefore expressed UNICEF commitment of supporting more training.

Given the rundown of the training Panning Specialist at the Directorate of Policy Planning and Information Alhassan Fouard Kanu said participants should be able to supply relevant tools for programme planning, design and develop a monitoring and evaluation system for project, formulate result oriented indicators for change monitoring, apply tools for quantitative and quantitative data analysis and write and disseminate credible reports.

He explained that in 2016 and 2017 respectively AMREF conducted for 120 participants from both private and public sectors to write report and to develop data that will influence decision making.

He confirmed that the training was gender sensitive with 18 female in 2016 and 11 female in 2017.

Deputy Health and Sanitation Minister II, described another set of 60 newly trained Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Officers as cornerstones of a performing health system at their graduation ceremony held on Saturday April 29, 2017 at the Dohas Hotel in Bo. The first set of 60 trained M&E Officers were graduated in October 1, 2016 at the Wusum Hotel in Makeni.

Delivering her keynote address, the Deputy Health and Sanitation Minister II, Madam Zuliatu Cooper described the theme: “Better Information, Better Planning, Better Health” as appropriate and timely, and underscores the importance of effective health information systems including data personnel.

She observed that health systems require well-designed health information systems in order to make optimal use of the mounting supply of health-related data, pointing out that information systems are an essential public health tool, providing real-time data to guide public health decisions.

Organizations, the Deputy Minister said both in the public and private sectors rely on these systems to inform managerial decision making and improve operations in areas such as epidemiologic surveillance, health outcomes assessment, programme and clinic administration, program evaluation and performance management, public health planning, and policy analysis.

She maintained that data from public and private health service providers contain an electronic history of healthcare utilization and costs, adding that both the Health Ministry and development partners’ surveys provide a level of detailed information on health status, functional status, medical care use and expenditures, nutrition, socio-demographics, and health behaviors.

Madam Cooper reiterated that it is clear that for health information systems to be effective, the public health personnel must have access to available data source, the skills to extract information and formulate decision-support knowledge, and the insights to capitalize on the benefits derive from these systems.

She lauded the efforts of the Director of DPPI and team for the range of initiatives and strategies currently pursuing, harnessing the diverse support from development partners to overhaul the Health Management Information System in the country.

The training was jointly organized by the Directorate of Policy Planning and Information (DPPI) in the Ministry of Health and Sanitation and the Africa Medical and Research Foundation (AMREF) Health Africa with support from the World Bank and UNICEF

The occasion was climaxed with award of certificates to 60 grandaunts.